There is no finality to the Christian LIfe this side of eternity. Leonard Ravenhill

Monday, October 24, 2011

What Will They Say?

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

"There are no great or small people in the Kingdom of God, only faithful and unfaithful." 
Leonard Ravenhill

I love to read church history. It is amazing to see the many ways that God has worked through men and women to advance His kingdom. Over the two millenniums of church history that we have, there have been both good times and bad times. There have been periods of great faithfulness, and periods of great neglect and apathy. At times the church has been passionate and on fire for the Lord, and at other times she has been complacent and lazy.

But as I stroll down the corridors of church history, I am painfully burdened with the question of what future generations will say about the 21st century church here in America. What will our children write about us? If the Lord tarries another five hundred years what will that generation say?

Here are some questions to ask ourselves-

Do we advance the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of man?

Do we strengthen families or tear them apart?

Does the Spirit reign among our fellowships?

Do we teach the Word of God or our own opinions?

Do we preach the whole counsel of God or just our pet doctrines?

Do we preach the Gospel in its entirety or just bits and pieces?

We need to not only be reading church history, but making it. What will they say?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our Only Hope: Seeing Past Governments To God

"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes."  Psalm 118:8-9

Right now there is much unrest in our nation. The economy has many people worried and confused. Many political policies have become corrupt and are no friend to liberty and justice. Politicians are failing and the American people are becoming dissatisfied with their leaders. Truth is ignored. Righteousness is shunned. Liberty is forgotten. Loyalty is growing non-existent. Character is lost.

So is their any hope for America?

Right now we are hearing from many presidential hopefuls. These men and women hope to make their ideas appear appealing to the American people. Their talking a lot, their debating more, they are all trying to portray themselves as the answer to the maladies that we face. They proclaim that their plans and policies are the ones that will make this nation great again.

Now don't get me wrong, I am completely for cleaning up Washington D.C., and creating a better more efficient government. But I do not believe that our hope lies in any Senator, Congressman, Governor, or President. You see it wouldn't matter if George Washington or Ronald Reagan were in office, these men cannot save our nation. Our hope is not in policies, people, or politics. Our only true hope and possibility of change is found in One, that is God.

Men will fail, make poor decisions, and compromise; God cannot.

If we want to see America turn around, we must return to God. Not just any God; but God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the Triune God of the Bible. We must turn our backs on our sin and follow Him. He is not just a hope, or the possibility of hope, or one hope out of many, He is our only hope.

"Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright." Psalm 20:6-8

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Living Apologetics: Speaking the Truth By Our Lifestyle

"But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light tot those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of the children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth- you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written,  'The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." Romans 2:17-24

In this passage the Apostle Paul vividly describes a people who had spiritual knowledge, but did not live a life that matched their talk. They had the right answers, they knew the law, they could recite portions of scripture, but their lives were a wreck.

It is easy to know the right stuff and not be right with God. You can know systematic theology, you can quote catechisms, but is your life in line with the Word of God. Do you know Him? Or just about Him? Their is a big difference.  It is not enough to be able to articulate good doctrine, we must allow those principles to become a part of us. Jesus Christ must invade every area of your existence.

I have recently been re-reading a book by a 20th century missionary named Geoffrey T. Bull. He spent a number of years in prison in China just after the Communist take over. His message is one of passion and reality. In the first chapter of his book, "The Sky Is Red", he deals with these issues that we have been looking at,

"The Gospel of Christ does not deal with matters superficially but fundamentally. It does not judge merely outward behavior but recognises the basic nature of things... The Christian is not allowed to be clever instead of being good. He is not permitted to state the case for Christianity unless he 'be an example of the believers.' In the end it is not cleverness that overcomes. Argument can silence a man but only the goodness of God can transform a man because it leads him to repentance... many a non-Christian today, is not waiting for a more explicit statement of Christian teaching but for a more dynamic presentation of Christian living." Geoffrey T. Bull

"The best apologetic for the Gospel is a soul on fire for God." Joe Brice

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Courageous: A Great Movie

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go and see the new Sherwood Pictures film Courageous. This is the newest film from the team that brought us Fireproof. I was amazed, blessed and challenged as I watched this incredible film. Although I'm not one to normally recommend going to the theatre, I would encourage you to go see this movie if they are still showing it in your area.

Much of today's entertainment is shallow, worthless and immoral. Most movies promote ungodly behavior and teach that truth is irrelevant. Hollywood has failed to produce films that are God-honoring, that are morally upright, and encourage strong families. This new Christian independent film though Courageous, is a square peg in a world of round holes.

Courageous tackles tough issues and handles them in a Biblical way. Godly fatherhood is exemplified and Biblical manhood is taught. Our families are falling apart in this nation, this film seeks to address that. Our only hope is God. We will not see the rebuilding of our family relationships without God at the center of our change. If we seek to change without Him and His Word, it will be superficial and worthless.

But be sure to remember that a good movie cant change your life. You must be willing and ready to experience change. You must have resolve and determination to be a different man or woman. You cannot be passive and spineless, you must be willing to be courageous and follow hard and difficult paths. But remember as you go to rely on Him that is stronger than all, for "Without Him you can do nothing."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt on The Strenuous Life

I was recently reading a speech that Theodore Roosevelt gave in 1899 while he was Vice-President. The message of this speech was to not be lazy and apathetic in our lifestyles, but to live with resolve and determination. Although the speech was not a sermon, I believe the spiritual application for the Christian is great in Roosevelt's The Strenuous Life. We should not shirk from difficulty or hardship in our stand for the kingdom of God. Here are some excerpts from that speech.

"I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of strenuous life; the life of toil and effort; of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success that comes, not to the man who desires more easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.

"A life of ignoble ease, a life of that peace which springs merely  from lack either or of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual... Who among you would teach your boys that ease, that peace is to be the first consideration in their eyes- to be the
ultimate goal after which they strive.

"We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend; but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. It is hard to fail; but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort.

"A mere life of ease is not in the end a very satisfactory life; and, above all, it is a life which ultimately unfits those who follow it for serious work in the world."

"Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." 2 Timothy 2:3