Monthly Archives: November 2011

Don't tell people about the cross, it doesn't work

A WELL-KNOWN preacher once gave the following advice to a group of churches concerning their approach to evangelism:

“Don’t tell people about the cross, it doesn’t work.  Too many evangelistic efforts fail because they focus too much on the cross.  Just tell them God loves them and has a plan for them.”  He continued, “The message of a crucified Jew is ridiculous to the modern mind.  So move onto something better.  A crucified Messiah is stupid, but promise them prosperity, give them emotional experiences, provide them with self-esteem and then you’ll fill the pews.”

THOUGHTS: Avoiding the cross and catering to people’s external needs might “fill the pews,” but they will be pews filled with people still dying in their sins.  Without the cross, the Bible is just another neat story book.  Without the cross, Christianity is no more than a self-help seminar.  It was the cross that God displayed His wisdom and power.  (Mitchell Skelton)

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

–Mike Benson

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Do you have a *slave card*?

Should we be amazed that Americans willingly sell their freedom for a measly price? Yet, many Americans eagerly swipe their slave card simply because they are impatient, to impress others or to make themselves feel good. Even Hebrew slaves gained more when forfeiting their liberty.

With red, white and blue flapping in the breeze above our heads while echoes about this being the land of opportunity still ringing in our ears, we often might wonder why any ancient Hebrew slave would have willingly rejected his right to go free. Scripture offered a powerful reason.

If the slave had been given a wife and she had bore him children, after the seventh year he could go free but his wife and children could not. However, this newly emancipated individual could chose, out of love for his family, to perpetually sacrifice his independence in order to remain with them (Exodus 21:2-6).

What is more difficult to fathom involves Americans willingly selling their independence merely to stimulate temporary feelings of self-worth or because they are too impatient to wait. Yet, according to the principle in Proverbs 22:7 (“the borrower is slave to the lender”), that is the price for swiping your credit card when you can not pay the bill in full.

During this holiday season, liberty will once again be undervalued as modern slavery thrives. For an embarrassingly small value, Americans will make a Faustian bargain trading their future time and work in order to satisfy an immediate desire. Long after the borrowed amount has been repaid, they will continue to toil enabling their masters to reap their own dreams at the expense of slave sweat.

–Barry Newton @ http://www.forthright.net

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Extra Terrestrial Commission *welcome wagon*

Faith In The Far-Fetched While Skeptical Of The Sure

“Shall the voters for the City and County of Denver adopt an initiated
Ordinance to require the creation of an extraterrestrial affairs commission
to help ensure the health, safety, and cultural awareness of Denver
residents and visitors in relation to potential encounters or interactions
with extraterrestrial intelligent beings or their vehicles, and fund such
commissions from grants, gifts, and donations?”  Yes___ No ___

Jeff Peckman, a Denver resident, was able to secure ten thousand signatures and get this ballot title drawn for next year’s elections. Peckman created the Extra Terrestrial Commission to be a “welcome wagon” when the aliens show up in the Mile High city.

This is not a joke.  At least, I am not joking with you.

This raises a question that is intriguing.  How many people in this nation believe there are extraterrestrial beings out there and/or down here?  What is the basis for their faith? We have seen TV specials or magazines or photos of alleged space ships or aliens.  People claim to have been abducted or to have had close encounters with them.  Some even suggest that aliens are responsible for the creation and design of this planet and its inhabitants (dodging, though not artfully, the tough question of how the aliens came into being).  Some, though I dearly hope a scant minority, earnestly believe there are “extraterrestrial intelligent beings” out there.

A growing number seem strident in their denial of what the Bible proposes.  The Word of God gives a simple, logical explanation for our origins.  It explains the purpose of mankind on this earth.  It speaks of a God in heaven and an eternal future either with Him or separated from Him.  People scoff away such a possibility, ridiculing the intelligence and sanity of those who trust this to be true.  They can be the butt of jokes.

The proposed alternative to special creation by an uncaused, eternal, and intelligent being is uncaused, eternal matter giving rise to design, intelligence, morality, procreative abilities, and much more.  How did that dust get here?  How did it grow more complicated?  How did some of it gradually become a fern or a hippopotamus or a barnacle or a rock or a human being? How did an octillion more things happen to get us from that power-packed, uncaused mass of stuff to the boundless, ordered universe in which we now live, breathe, and comprehend?

The most reasonable explanation involves a loving God who created man in His own image, who created for mankind a world fit to be inhabited–complete with food and water and the other essentials to make life perpetuated from generation to generation.  Not only does it best explain design, the cosmos, morality, intelligence, and the like, it makes reasonable the idea that such a Being, God, could communicate His thoughts, intentions, and will through scripture and superintend the process of revelation that gives us, even today, precisely what He wanted us to know.
Mindless chance, aliens, or a loving, limitless God.  What seems most reasonable?

=-Neal Pollard

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We ought to live holy and godly lives

A tiny but dignified old lady was among a group looking at an art exhibition in a newly opened gallery.  Suddenly one contemporary painting caught her eye.

“What on earth,” she inquired of the artist standing nearby, “is that?”

He smiled condescendingly. “That, my dear lady, is supposed to be a mother and her child.”

“Well, then,” snapped the little old lady, “why isn’t it?”

I’ve seen some of that “modern art”, so I can relate.  But it makes me stop and wonder:  Does the same thing ever happen spiritually in my life?  I’m “supposed” to be a Christian, a child of God, a person whose life dedicated to serving God.

Peter reminds me:  “You ought to live holy and godly lives.” (2 Peter 3:11)

But is there anyone who looks at my life and says, “I know what he’s supposed to be, so why isn’t he?”

“Father, please forgive me for those times I have let you down, those times I have not set an example of holiness that You intend for me to.  Please strengthen me in my desire to live in such a way that others around me will have no doubt that You come first in my life.”

Have a great day!

Alan Smith

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You're dressed like a prostitute!

In his book about forgiveness, Brazilian author Hernandes Dias Lopes tells about a bride who made detailed preparations for her honeymoon. On that special night, she presented herself to her husband, dressed all in silk.

Instead of the endearing terms and gesture of tenderness she expected, he said, “You’re dressed like a prostitute!”

For 20 years that wife carried the wound of those words. She never felt pleasure in her relationship with her husband. Her bitterness led her into adultery.

The lack of forgiveness produces resentment and bitterness. In the fertile ground of forgiveness, love grows.

“The one who forgives an offense seeks love, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9 NET).

Besides indicating, by its inclusion, the difficulty of forgiveness, the Lord’s prayer shows the interdependence of our forgiveness and God’s.

“and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Luke’s rendering makes it clear that debts refer to sins (Luke 11:4).

The more we understand the enormity of God’s forgiveness, the easier we will be able to forgive.

And God’s continuing forgiveness of his people depends upon their imitation of his disposition to forgive.

The love of God explodes any attempt to limit or extend forgiveness on a human basis (Matthew 18:21- 22). While Peter thought seven pardons was a merciful and gracious number, Jesus shows us that the forgiving heart stops counting altogether.

Forgiveness trumps health (Matthew 9:2). Extended to others, it must come “from the heart” (Matthew 18:35).

Forgiveness is the key to restoring and cultivating relationships. The experience of God’s salvation comes “through the forgiveness of … sins” (Luke 1:77). Redemption is summed up as the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). This is true in our relationship to God, and to one another.

Failure to forgive, then, destroys relationships. Only when we refuse to hold others’ failings against them will we be able to build lasting and intimate relationships in the home, in the church and in the world.

Because honeymoons end, sometimes, before they begin.

–J. Randal Matheny @ http://www.forthright.net

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A sermon on entertaining angels http://ping.fm/9t7eN

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Is Jesus showing up in dental x-rays?

There has been a rash of “sightings” lately with which unbelievers have been having a field day.  I refer to “Jesus sightings” people are claiming in such things as clouds, Cheetos, dental X-rays, cooking utensils, windows, walls, and trees. Wikipedia even has an entry for it (“Perceptions of religious imagery in natural phenomena”). People vehemently defend the idea that these are intentional, divinely sent images. Meanwhile, secular and agnostic witnesses to such claims gather up baby and bathwater together, using such superstitiousness to show how deluded those in Christendom really are. Yet, while responding to superstition in religion would be a fitting use of time, another thing comes to mind when hearing these sad stories.  It is a reminder that people are looking for Jesus in all the wrong places.

They want some heavenly sign, some overwhelming feeling, some sensory sensation, and some sort of religious fireworks to create or validate their faith.  While God has embedded plenty of these in the marvels of nature and creation, through the product of answered prayer that defies logic or explanation, and by the amazing process of transformation that occurs when people follow Christ, He calls on us to seek for Him in a much less electrifying and cataclysmic place.

When we pick up God’s Word and regularly, intently read, meditate, and study (cf. Psalm 1) it, we see Jesus come alive in powerful, sustaining ways!  When we walk with the Lord each day, the resulting relationship built on His character and our trust in Him is powerful!  When we actively serve Him and others and put into practice what He teaches us through the Bible, we see Jesus in a vivid way.  Daily Christian living, the longer we practice it, brings Jesus into unmistakable, clear focus.  Maybe that is what these “seers” truly desire, and what they need is our help to truly find Him.  Let us take that as a challenge and help people really “see Jesus” (cf. John 12:21; Heb. 2:9).

Neal Pollard

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