Making Hearts Burn

Living WordThere is an interesting line the angels speak to the ladies who came to anoint Christ’s dead body in the tomb: “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5).

That phrase sums up much of our culture. People are looking for life, but they are looking for it among dead things. Wise King Solomon wrote that God has placed a God-shaped void in the heart of every human being (Ecclesiastes 3:11). But Solomon went on to say that anything “under the sun” that we try to use to fill that God-void will be utterly meaningless.

Peter wrote to aliens and strangers about living such good lives that will point people to God. This means Christians need to help people who are looking for the living among the dead see that real life is in Christ. To do this, we need to be immersed in the Living Word of God.

In the conversations after Christ’s resurrection, look at the references to God’s Living Word:

  • Remember how He told you … Then they remembered His words (Luke 24:6-8)
  • what was said in all the Scripture concerning Himself… (Luke 24:27)
  • …written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms … so they could understand the Scriptures ( Luke 24:44-45)

There is life in God’s Word! When the two disciples of Jesus remembered His Living Word, they said their hearts burned inside them (Luke 24:32).

If you want to help those searching for life to find it, let them hear God’s Living Word coming from your lips. This will make their hearts burn, and lead them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

We will be continuing our series on Aliens And Strangers this Sunday, and I’d love to have you join me either in-person or on Periscope (search for @craigtowens).

Links & Quotes

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“It has pleased God to give each one of us the same amount of time each day, week, month, and year. Time is a gift of God, and He expects us to use it wisely, in ways that overcome the foolishness of living apart from God and glorify Him in all the details of our lives (Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 5:15-17; 1 Corinthians 10:31). … The challenge of the spiritual life is to claim all our time and construct all our activities in order to pursue what we desire as the life of following Jesus. Anything that doesn’t contribute to that objective distracts from it. … What do the time and activities of your life reveal about what you desire in life and what you’re depending on to give your life purpose and joy?” —T.M. Moore

If you haven’t checked out The Bible Project videos lately, please visit their YouTube channel. They have some really cool stuff that give you an overview of a book of the Bible, and some of the major themes in the Bible. Each video is only 5-7 minutes long, but there is a ton of good insight packed into that time.

“If God did not love us unconditionally, He would not penetrate our unattractive lives, bring us to faith, unite us to Christ, give us His Spirit, and make us progressively like Jesus.” —John Piper

“The Word of God is an expansive Word; ever widening its dimensions; growing upon us; never old, ever new; in which we make continual discoveries; the same tree, but ever putting forth new branches and leaves; the same river, but ever swelling and widening; losing none of its old water, yet ever receiving accessions.” —Horatius Bonar

Planned Parenthood’s love/hate relationship with science.

The Federalist shares 10 reasons it makes zero sense to support abortion.

Parents & teachers, check out what Tim Elmore says we often forget when we are helping our students solve problems.

13 Quotes From “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”

Seeking Allah Finding JesusIf you want to know about Islam from an insider’s perspective, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi is simply a phenomenal book! Check out my book review by clicking here. Below are just a few of the quotes I found quite educational.

“There is much division in Islam. The best determination of whether a man is Muslim is if he exclusively declares that Allah is God and Mohammad is Allah’s messenger. Beyond this point, there is great diversity in Islam.”

“There is no book of sharia. We must derive the law from a hierarchy of sources using a process of jurisprudence called fiqh. The first and greatest source is the Quran. Nothing can supersede the Quran because it is the word of Allah. But the Koran is not comprehensive. As Muslims, there is much we must do and believe that is not found in the Quran. For this, we go to the second source, hadith. The hadith elaborate and clarify what is found in the Quran, but they never contradict. There is no contradiction in Islam. If a hadith is found in any way to contradict the Quran, then it is inauthentic and must be disregarded. If no hadith can be found to clarify an issue, then we must turn to the third source of sharia: the ulema, Muslim scholars who are wise and experienced in Islam.”

“Muftis from different schools of thought have different precedents and therefore provide different fatwas. Each denomination differs on what hadith they consider accurate. Since the hadith are the second rung of sharia, these differences of opinion have real consequences. Many of the differences between the ways Sunnis and Shias practice Islam are over this very matter. Their books of hadith are disparate. This difference, combined with the Shia position regarding the authority of imams, results in a significantly different view of sharia. … Most Muslims do not know these things. They know Islam to the extent that they practice it, and these are matters for the learned.”

“Christians believe Jesus is God incarnate, and this is a necessary belief for orthodox Christianity. Muslims believe that Jesus is no more than a prophet, and to consider Him God incarnate would be blasphemy and would cause one to be condemned to hell eternally, according to the Quran.”

“Regarding Jesus, there are two issues on which Muslims particularly disagree with Christians: that Jesus died on the Cross and that Jesus claimed to be God. The Quran specifically denies both of these beliefs.” 

“Sahih Bukhari…is the most trustworthy book of hadith, compiled by Imam Bukhari. The hadith were not collected into the books until a long time after Mohammad’s death. Many false hadith had been fabricated, and it was difficult to determine which ones were accurate. Imam Bukhari sifted through five hundred thousand hadith and pick out the five thousand most accurate.”

“The earliest historical records show that Mohammad launched offensive military campaigns and used violence at times to accomplish his purposes. He used the term jihad in both spiritual and physical contexts, but the physical jihad is the one Mohammad strongly emphasizes. The peaceful practice of Islam hinges on later, often Western, interpretations of Mohammad’s teachings, whereas the more violent variations of Islam are deeply rooted in orthodoxy and history.”

“The Bible and the Quran were nothing alike. Not in the slightest. … Mohammad dictated the contents of the Quran to his scribes over a period of twenty-three years. Only after his death was the Quran collected into a book. Verses that had been dictated years or decades apart are frequently found side-by-side in the Quran, often with no obvious connection. The result is that Muslims placed relatively little weight on surrounding passages when trying to interpret sections of the Quran.”

“Almost everything Muslims know about Mohammad comes to them orally, rarely from primary sources. Unlike Christians learning about Jesus from the Bible, the Quran has very little to say about Mohammad.”

“Mohammad’s first biography, Sirat Rasul Allah by Ibn Ishaq, comes down to our date only through the transmission of a later biographer, Ibn Hisham. In his introduction, Ibn Hisham explains that he altered the story of Mohammad’s life. ‘Things which it is disgraceful to discuss, matters which would distressed certain people, and such reports as [my teacher] (sic) told me he could not accept as trustworthy—all these things I have omitted.’”

“According to the hadith, Mohammad named four men as the best teachers of the Quran. The first one was Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, whome Mohammad distinguished as the foremost expert of the Quran. The last one was Ubay ibn Ka’b, whom Sahih Bukhari identifies as the best reciter of the Quran. These were the men that Mohammad hand selected as the best teachers of the Quran, but as I studied the early sources, I found that they did not agree with the final Quran, which has been passed down as today’s version. They did not even agree with each other. … Ubay is known to have had 116 chapters in his Quran, two more than Zaid’s edition. Ibn Mas’ud had only 111 chapters in his Quran, insisting that the additional chapters in Zaid’s Quran and Ubay’s Quran were just prayers, not Quranic recitation.”

“In Islam, there is only one unforgivable sin, shirk, the belief that someone other than Allah is God. Shirk is specifically discussed in the context of Jesus in 5:72. He who believes Jesus is God, ‘Allah has forbidden Heaven for him, and his abode will be the Hellfire.’”

“All suffering is worth it to follow Jesus. He is amazing.”

Links & Quotes

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“The real trouble is that ‘kindness’ is a quality fatally easy to attribute to ourselves on quite inadequate grounds. Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment. Thus a man easily comes to console himself for all his other vices by a conviction that ‘his heart’s in the right place’ and ‘he wouldn’t hurt a fly’, though in fact he has never made the slightest sacrifice for a fellow creature.” —C.S. Lewis

“It is better to have men reproach you for holy living than have God damn us for sinful living.” —Thomas Watson

“Sooner or later, the ones who told you that this isn’t the way it’s done, the ones who found time to sneer, they will find someone else to hassle. Sooner or later, they stop pointing out how much hubris you’ve got, how you’re not entitled to make a new thing, how you will certainly come to regret your choices. Sooner or later, your work speaks for itself. Outlasting the critics feels like it will take a very long time, but you’re more patient than they are.” —Seth Godin

“Over all Scripture the quickening, life-giving fragrance of His name is defused. Christ and life; life in Christ; Christ our life—these form the very essence, the sum and burden, of the Scriptures. ‘These are they that testify of Me.’” —Horatius Bonar

The Cedar Springs Post has a nice article about our church’s exciting move.

Max Lucado writes, “Something tells me that in the whole scheme of things the tender moments with a child are infinitely more valuable than anything I do in front of a computer or a congregation.” Check out his post Tender Moments.

4 reasons why same-sex “marriage” will never measure up to the real thing.

Links & Quotes

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“Then and there, here and now, more and more: This is how we must think about the Kingdom of God and our involvement in it.” —T.M. Moore

“What is the meaning of God sending His own Son, if less than salvation was intended; if less than Incarnation will do, less than blood, less than death, less than resurrection? Oh let us understand the greatness of God’s provision for us, and in that greatness, read at once our death and our life, our condemnation and our deliverance.” —Horatius Bonar

David Wilkerson says, “It is one thing to speak with what we think of as authority—in a loud, boisterous voice, seeming to have total control. But in God’s kingdom, authority is something altogether different. It’s something you have, not something you simply speak.” Read more in his post The Authority Of Jesus.

Wise words from N.T. Wright when it appears God isn’t at work.

GREAT NEWS: Hilton Hotels & Resorts has officially announced a change in policy and will remove all on-demand pornographic videos from the in-room entertainment services at all of its properties worldwide.

Parents, here is a really good list of Scripture verses to help your children memorize as they head back to school.

TrumpToShakespeare_edit-01Info We Trust has a unique way of analyzing the data from the first GOP debate. I love this!

[VIDEO] Dennis Prager make 5 outstanding arguments about the morality of abortion—

Links & Quotes

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“The Kingdom of God, as Jesus envisioned it, was not simply for then and there. Jesus announced a Kingdom that had come. His preaching and teaching lead us to understand that the Kingdom is very much a ‘here and now’ reality [Matthew 4:17], that which is to be sought above, within, and through everything else in our lives.” —T.M. Moore

“Sexual sin is a symptom, not the disease. People give way to sexual sin because they don’t have the fullness of joy and gladness in Christ. Their spirits are not steadfast and firm and established. They waver. They are enticed, and they give way because God does not have the place in our feelings and thoughts that He should. David knew this about himself. It’s true about us too. David is showing us, by the way he prays [Psalm 51:8, 12], what the real need is for those who sin sexually—joy in God.” —John Piper

“For the day may come when false prophets shall arise, and delude the people, and by this shall we be able to discover them; if they claim anything beyond what Christ has revealed, put them aside, for they are false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Spirit only teaches us that which Christ has taught beforehand either by Himself or by the inspired apostles.” —Charles Spurgeon

“From many modern sermons would you know that there was a Holy Spirit? If it were not for the benediction or the doxology you might go in and out of many churches and meeting-houses by the year together, and scarcely know that there was such a Person as that blessed, blessed Giver of all good, the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we hear a little about His influences, as if the Holy Spirit were not as truly a Person as even Jesus Christ Himself, Who in flesh and blood trod this earth. Oh, dear friends, I fear the first danger, that of running wild with whimsies and fancies about inner lights and new revelations; but I equally dread this last, this going forth to work with the sword, forgetting that it is the sword of the Spirit, and only mighty as the Holy Spirit makes it mighty ‘to the pulling down of strongholds.’” —Charles Spurgeon

No surprises here: Planned Parenthood spends a lot of money to buys votes from your U.S. Senator.

By the way, don’t buy into the lie that if Planned Parenthood is defunded women won’t have access to healthcare. First of all, PP makes way too much money from abortions already. Second, there are 20 comprehensive healthcare centers for every one PP office, so the options are plentiful.

[VIDEO] Jesus in the New Testament is the same as Jehovah in the Old Testament—

If you would like a written form of the charts he shares in this video, click here.

Links & Quotes

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“We are not just connected to Jesus, our Head. We are also joined to each other. The fact is, we can’t be connected to Him without also being joined to our brothers and sisters in Christ.” Read more from David Wilkerson in his post Partakers Of The Bread.

“Hard work spotlights the character of people. Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” —Sam Ewing

“Grace is an active, present, transformative, obedience-enabling power.” —John Piper

Don’t miss tonight’s meteor shower.

These are some absolutely stunning pictures from National Geographic!

 

 

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