Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading & watching today…

“The treacherous enemy facing the church of Jesus Christ today is the dictatorship of the routine, when the routine becomes ‘lord’ in the life of the church. Programs are organized and the prevailing conditions are accepted as normal. … That would be perfectly all right and proper for a cemetery. Nobody expects a cemetery to do anything but conform.” —A.W. Tozer

John Stonestreet reminds us that even in the scientific community, Macroevolution Has No Clothes.

“Father, we fear our deadly fondness for floating toward the falls when we ought to be swimming against the current. Oh, God, have mercy to waken us again and again to the perils of drifting in the Christian life. Help us heed Hebrews 2:1, ‘We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.’” —John Piper

I love this story: Communion On The Moon.

Hamas are terrorists pure and simple. The Egyptians get it. Why doesn’t the Western media get it? Why don’t Western leaders get it? And why don’t Christian leaders get it?” Read more about the Israeli battle against Hamas in Middle-East Meets Middle-Earth.

[VIDEO] Ken Davis has a hilarious take on airplane restrooms.

The Wall Street Journal rightly sees the situation at Gordon College as The Next Religious Liberty Case.

Dr. Tim Elmore lays out The Messages We Must Send To Millennials About Life After College.

Koinonia

All inIn 2007, Dave Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons published a book called unChristian. In it they reported the cultural view of Christians: haters, judgmental, hypocritical, too involved in politics, out of touch, insensitive, boring.

Do any of these words fit Jesus? No, I’ve never heard anyone—whether in the Bible or in the history of that day—call Jesus a hypocrite, or boring, or a hater. Do any of these words fit the apostles who began to spread the message of Jesus Christ after His ascension? No! Again, I’ve never read anywhere where the early Christians were called judgmental, or too political, or out of touch.

But if these labels are thrown at Christians today—Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you (1 John 3:13)—the Bible tells us how to reverse them: By living counter culture, by living according to God’s Word. In a word, by living in koinonia.

This is a Greek word that isn’t used in the Gospels, but shows up just after the first Church is born on the day of Pentecost. It’s a word and a concept that simply won’t work in a pragmatic culture, but works powerfully in a biblical counter culture. The word is usually translated fellowship in English.

Koinonia is how the Trinity operates (see 2 Corinthians 13:14). All three Persons of the Godhead are mentioned in fellowship with each other. There is no rivalry in the Trinity, but if any part of it is diminished, so is its total effectiveness and glory.

trinity of koinoniaChristians are called to be part of a trinity of koinonia as well.

  • When I worship God, I am energized to be in fellowship with others.
  • My fellowship with others that flows from my love for God empowers them to worship God for themselves.
  • The overflow of that relationship with God encourages others to be in fellowship with me.
  • And that fellowship energizes me to worship God even more deeply, which encourages my fellowship with others, which empowers them for deeper worship… and on and on and on it goes!

Koinonia is an ALL IN relationship. It’s not something I can dabble in, or be involved with occasionally. I’m either in koinonia, or I’m not.

To see a great example, look at the Christians the very first time the word koinonia is used in Scripture. Acts 2:42-47 shows us how the Christians were not only all in (the Bible uses the word devoted), but how others in the community responded: they were in awe and viewed the Christians with favor. And as a result, lives were being changed every single day.

Yes! That’s what I want to be a part of! How about you?

Noble Revenge

Noble revengePerhaps one of the most counter culture things a Christian will ever do is to forgive. More specifically, to forgive God’s way in which the offending party is forgiven and the offense is no longer counter against him.

But this isn’t what today’s culture teaches us. Instead they say things like—

  • “I’ll forgive them only if they’re really, really, REALLY sorry for what they did….
  • …and I’ll forgive them only if they ask for forgiveness…
  • …and then only I’ll only forgive them a certain number of times…
  • …and most importantly, I may forgive, but I’ll never forget.

Why do we feel this way?

  • We buy into the old line: “Hurt me once, shame on you; hurt me twice, shame on me,” and we don’t want to feel shame.
  • We like to be in control. If we hold on to slights and injuries, then we have a trump card we can play later—“You owe me” or “This is why I don’t trust you.”
  • We mistakenly think that forgiveness makes us appear weak, like our offender won and we lost. And we certainly don’t want them to think they can take advantage of us again.
  • Because if they take advantage of us again it’s right back to, “Hurt me once…” so I’m going to make a preemptive strike and not forgive them.

Yes, forgiveness could make us appear vulnerable. Yes, we could be hurt again by the same offender. And, yes, we could be viewed as weak. But—The foolish thing that has its source in God is wiser than men, and the weak thing that springs from God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:25, AMP). Total forgiveness is foolish looking in the natural, but it has God’s blessing on it.

With this in mind, the Apostle Paul wrote—

But Jesus said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

When we are totally reliant on Christ, that’s when His power rests on us. When we say, “I’m going to do this my way,” we block ourselves off from Christ’s grace and power and strength.

We need to remember HOW MUCH God has forgiven in us—He forgave ALL my sins and He no longer counts any of my treachery and rebellion against me. With this in mind, how dare I hold on to the comparatively small injuries others have inflicted on me (see Matthew 18:21-35).

“The noblest revenge is to forgive.” —Thomas Fuller


Forgiveness gives me a nobility.
Forgiveness sets me free from the hurt.
Forgiveness makes me a child of God.
Forgiveness gives me God-sent strength.
Forgiveness is counter culture.
Because forgiveness glorifies God, and not my wound.

What are you waiting for? Get free today by giving and receiving forgiveness.

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some informative reading for today…

On May 28, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the Congressional Act (Joint Resolution 243), which added the words “Under God” to the pledge of allegiance. In a speech given soon after, President Eisenhower said, “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future.”

“God is concerned that His people are being shaken in their faith—that they won’t trust Him in their crisis. Beloved, our worst sin is our unwillingness to believe He will do what He promised. That offends Him more than adultery, fornication, drug and alcohol abuse or any other sin of the flesh.” —David Wilkerson

Scary, indeed: 8 Scary Statements Said By Abortion Activists.

“If today is the day I will be born into heaven—I sure want to make it worth while. If I die today, I want today to be full of the glory of God. I want everything I do today to be worthy of Jesus. If I could die any moment then let every moment count. A healthy view of dying helps us live well. Dying is the only way to live.” —Dick Brogden

We must SPEAK OUT about this: Global slavery is a big money-maker.

Mark Steyn wants to know why President Barak Obama doesn’t use his phone and his pen to help free Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag from her Sudanese prison, where she is awaiting execution for the crime of (gasp!) being a Christian.

Study: Homosexual culture will affect monogamous marriage, not the other way around. This is why we need a counter culture view—a biblical view—of sex.

Better Sex

The Gospel invitationOur culture has a sexualized agenda. Just look at how Hollywood portrays us today:

  • Few happy marriages.
  • Lots of sex-crazed, inept husbands with strong wives who use or withhold sex as a reward or punishment.
  • Flawlessly beautiful actors (not a zit to be seen).
  • No consequences for sex—no pregnancy, STDs or AIDS.
  • No depression for broken relationships; no anxiety or eating disorders because of the psychological pain.
  • Sex outside of marriage is normal, and those who abstain are the weird ones.

We cannot stand on our soapboxes and rail against culture.

We cannot just tell them what we’re against, but we’ve got to tell them what we’re for.

We’ve got to give them the compelling truth for the beauty, joy, and fulfillment of sex God’s way.

The Gospel—the Good News—is an invitation, not an ultimatum. We’ve got to share with others what’s good about God’s counter culture way concerning sex! 

“I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer ‘No,’ he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing that excludes it.” —C.S. Lewis

All Hollywood knows is the “chocolate” of people acting on their immediate feelings, with no understanding of long-term consequences.

Better sex comes from doing things God’s way = one man and one women married for life.

Proverbs 5 presents the advantages of being married and being intimate with just one person. I especially love this passage—

Drink water from your own well—share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers. Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman? (verses 15-20)

This is better sex because it’s pure:

  • No sharing sexually transmitted diseases from previous partners.
  • No comparison to how you are in bed compared to previous partners.
  • No psychological fall-out.
  • Intimacy without reservation.
  • A release of dopamine (the feel-good hormone) unlike you’ll ever get with “casual” sex.
  • And most importantly: A relationship God can—and does!—bless.

Hollywood knows nothing about real love and a truly satisfying, fulfilling sex life. But God does! That’s why the Apostle Paul tells us, “Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20), because God created your body and knows how it can get the highest, purest pleasure.

Better sex comes when you have sex God’s way!

Money & Hammers

Money checklistHammers are very similar to money. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at some of the things they have in common. They both…

  1. …are tools.
  2. …can be used to build up or destroy.
  3. …are amoral.
  4. …don’t have any power until they’re in a person’s hand.

I realize in church circles it can make people uncomfortable to talk about money, but it shouldn’t be that way. The Bible is very clear in saying wealth comes from God, as well as how to use that wealth, so why should that be uncomfortable? Here are some of the things the Bible says about wealth:

  • If we honor God, He blesses our work (Proverbs 3:9-10).
  • If we take the glory for our success, God calls us “foolish” (Luke 12:16-21).
  • Money can be used to build God’s kingdom (Acts 4:34-37) or to build our own reputations (Acts 5:1-11).
  • Making the pursuit of money our priority becomes an idol (Luke 16:10-13).
  • The anxiety over money can choke our spiritual life (Matthew 13:22).
  • God gives us the ability to work, to make money, and to enjoy both the work and the rewards of work (Ecclesiastes 5:19).
  • God alone judges our attitude toward money (Luke 16:15).

It’s not money that is immoral, but our pursuit of Money (with a capital “M” or what the Bible calls Mammon) that is immoral.

It’s not money that will ruin us, but our trust in money that will ruin us.

It’s not money that gives us a secure future, but God Who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17).

Don’t envy people with more money than you. Don’t look down on people with less money than you. Don’t—as Jesus said to the Pharisees—justify your opinions and attitudes about money.

Only an honest listening to the Holy Spirit about your attitude and lifestyle concerning money is what can keep us from letting money rob us of God’s blessing.


Steppin’ Up

Hard workHere’s a really simple true-false quiz for you. Anyone who has ever been in church should be able to handle this one simple question. Are you ready? Your one question is—True or False: The Bible contains the Word of God?

The answer is FALSE! The Bible doesn’t contain the Word of God, the Bible IS the Word of God.

  • It is inerrant = without error.
  • It is infallible = without mistake.
  • It is universally applicable regardless of age or culture.

The worldview which dominates today is usually one of pragmatism. That means people do what feels right to them in the moment, and then they determine the rightness or wrongness of their decision based on the outcome. In other words, if they like how things turned out they must have done something right, and if they don’t like the results then they must have done something wrong.

Christians, however, need to see the short-sightedness of this. The Apostle Peter shows the contrast between how accurate God’s Word is and how false teachers want to “exploit you with stories they have made up” (see 2 Peter 1:20-2:3), and how destruction is the end result for those with a pragmatic worldview.

It is by no means an easy thing for Christians to discipline themselves to have a consistent biblical worldview. It’s easy to simply reject something because it doesn’t appear to be “churchy” or receive something because it’s been done in the church for years. The hard work comes in this:

This week I’d like to give you the same challenge I gave my congregation: How can you STEP UP your involvement in the Word this week?

  • Do you need to read the Bible more?
  • Do you need to read the Bible better?
  • Do you need to meditate more on what you’ve read in the Bible?
  • Do you need to re-look at some things you’ve automatically rejected or received?
  • Do you need the Holy Spirit to overhaul your worldview?

Feel free to share in the comments below how you will be trying to STEP UP your involvement in the God’s Word this week…

Counter Culture

Counter Culture [web]counter culture [koun-ter kuhl-cher] noun the culture and lifestyle of those people, especially among the young, who reject or oppose the dominant values and behavior of society.

What are the “dominant values and behavior” of today? Many Christians would say that what is “dominant” today appears to be those values and behavior counter to the teaching of the Bible. Can that be true?

If that is true, then how are Christians supposed to live? Are Christians supposed to adapt or modify what we believe to match the “dominant” behavior of the day?

Actually, I believe Christians are to live out a biblical worldview, and that doing so actually makes those Christians the ones who are living true counter culture lifestyles. It is that counter culture lifestyle which pleases God and attracts others to Him.

Join me this Sunday as we explore what the Bible teaches about being counter culture.

Counterculture Christian

I’ve been pondering these quotes for the past few days. They describe a view of Christianity that is biblical, but highly countercultural. What do you think?

C.H. Spurgeon“If we obey the Lord, He will compel our adversaries to see that His blessing rests upon us. … It is for saints to lead the way among men by holy influence: they are not to be the tail, to be dragged hither and thither by others. We must not yield to the spirit of the age, but compel the age to do homage to Christ.” —Charles Spurgeon


Tozer“I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.” —A.W. Tozer


C.S. Lewis at his desk“The symbols under which Heaven is presented to us are (a) a dinner party, (b) a wedding, (c) a city, and (d) a concert. It would be grotesque to suppose that the guests or citizens or members of the choir didn’t know one another. And how can love of one another be commanded in this life if it is to be cut short at death?” —C.S. Lewis

God Sees An Indiv1dual

God sees an individualThe Bible often recounts the history of Israel. In one particular psalm the history of the Israelites sounds like one story repeated over and over:

  • But they continued to sin against God… (Psalm 78:17)
  • In spite of all this, they kept on sinning… (v. 32)
  • Their hearts were not loyal to God, they were not faithful to His covenant… (v. 37)
  • They put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High… (v. 56)

After experiencing God’s blessing, they fall away from God, experience the pain of punishment, repent of their wickedness, get restored, only to fall away again.

So what’s the use in serving God? In following His ways? In keeping His commands?

God sees indiv1duals, not a mass of humanity.

The culture may have been unfaithful to Him, but God saw ONE who was faithful and obedient. He saw ONE who loved God so deeply—“He choose David His servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep He brought him to be the shepherd of His people Jacob, of Israel His inheritance” (vv. 70, 71).

God saw the ONE man who was consistently faithful and rewarded him. God doesn’t miss a thing! He sees every ONE who keeps his or her heart set on Him. Whether in this life or the next, that ONE will be rewarded by God.

Don’t give in to the everyone’s-doing-it-so-it-must-be-okay mindset. God sees YOU as an indiv1dual, and He longs to reward YOU for your faithfulness to Him.

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