Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading and watching from today…

An open letter that needs to be read: What’s The Big Deal With Pornography?

All doubts are an attack of the enemy; the Holy Spirit never suggests them, never. He is the Comforter, not the accuser; and He never shows us our need without at the same time revealing the Divine supply.” —Hannah Whitall Smith

“The only way to have a fulfilling life is to stop relying on your own savvy and start relying on God to provide the necessary turn of affairs.” —John Piper

 

[VIDEO] Speaking of John Piper, I am so excited about his new project called Look At The Book! Check out this preview.

President Obama unleashes another assault on our religious liberties.

Dr. Tim Elmore gives parents and teachers Five Words Every Child Needs To Hear.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from this weekend…

“What most Americans—and the world—hear about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas goes something like this: ‘125 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed by Israel’s relentless assault on Gaza. No Israelis have yet been killed.’ This may be true, but there is absolutely no context to it. One must look at the methodologies of the two sides.” Read more in this post: The Moral Difference Between Israel And Hamas.

If Planned Parenthood did so much work to prevent women from needing abortions, then why are they the nationwide leaders in performing abortions?! Read how Planned Parenthood responded to their certificate of death award

“Christianity at any given time is strong or weak depending upon her concept of God. … Our religion is little because our god is little. Our religion is weak because our god is weak. Our religion is ignoble because the god we serve is ignoble. We do not see God as He is…. A local church will only be as great as its conception of God. An individual Christian will be a success or a failure depending upon what he or she thinks of God.” —A.W. Tozer

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Give us a pure heart, that we may see Thee, a humble heart, that we may hear Thee, a heart of love, that we may serve Thee, a heart of faith, that we may live Thee, Thou, Whom I do not know, but Whose I am.” —Dag Hammarskjöld

“Whether we call ourselves classical evangelicals, traditionalists, fundamentalists, Pentecostals, or charismatics, we all have to face our lack of real power and call out for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit. We need the fresh wind of God to awaken us from our lethargy. We must not hide any longer behind some theological argument. The days are too dark and dangerous.” —Jim Cymbala

Thursdays With Oswald—Predestined Freewill?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Predestined Freewill?

     Our destiny is not determined for us, but it is determined by us. Man’s free will is part of God’s sovereign will. We have freedom to take which course we choose, but not freedom to determine the end of that choice. God makes clear what He desires, we must choose, and the result of the choice is not the inevitableness of law, but the inevitableness of God.

From Conformed To His Image

Typically there are two schools of thought: Predestination (also called Calvinism) and freewill (also called Arminianism). The Bible has numerous verses that make the case for both of these viewpoints.

C.S. Lewis advised that in matters with two starkly different theological viewpoints, the safest action was to chart a course right between the two rocky islands. With that in mind, I don’t consider myself a Calvinist nor an Arminian, but a “Calminian.”

No matter where you find yourself on this theological issue, I think there is one thing we can all agree upon: God is Sovereign and God is Love. In both His sovereignty and His love He created us, sent His Son to die on a Cross for us, and sent His Spirit to draw us. I choose to accept His gift of salvation, and I’m not trying to find out how far I can stray and still be “saved.”

Thursdays With Oswald—What The Spirit Does

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

What The Spirit Does      

     The majority of us “hang on” to Jesus Christ, we are thankful for the massive gift of salvation, but we don’t do anything towards working it out. That is the difficult bit, and the bit the majority of us fall in, because we have not been taught that that is what we have to do, consequently there is a gap between our religious profession and our actual practical living. …      

     The great factor in Christian experience is the one our Lord continually brought out, viz., the reception of the Holy Spirit who does in us what He did for us, and slowly and surely our natural life is transformed into a spiritual life through obedience.

From Conformed To His Image

There is a process whereby the Holy Spirit brings our Christ-likeness from us; it’s called sanctification (or as I like to say it, saint-ification).

This is how the Spirit forms us into God’s saints. But here’s the key point: we have to let the Spirit do His work. If we say, “No thanks, I’d rather not work on that area of my life,” He will leave you alone.

But, oh, the rewards that we miss out on when we don’t receive all that the Holy Spirit has for us!

Be A Witness

Good newsJesus said we have some really, really, REALLY good news to share! It’s news about how much God loves us and wants us to know Him personally.

Jesus wanted us to spread the word far and wide about this really, really, REALLY good news, but He didn’t want us to try to do it in our own power. In fact, the last words He spoke to His disciples before ascending into Heaven were—

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Did you catch those words: power TO BE witnesses. The Holy Spirit provides us with the resident, miracle-working, moral, influential, and enabling power not to do witnessing, but to be witnesses.

“The Pentecostal believer is to be something, not just experience something. He or she must become a living witness of Christ on earth.” —Charles Crabtree

There are really two ways that we are witnesses for Him. Our witness is:

(1) Strategic

  • The New Testament believers strategically met house-to-house and in the Temple (Acts 2:46).
  • The church strategically picked leaders to help them be effective in their witness (Acts 6:2-3).
  • The Holy Spirit strategically picked missionaries to be witnesses in far-off lands (Acts 13:2-3).
  • Those missionaries were strategic in following up on their witnessing work (Acts 15:36).

(2) Spontaneous

  • The newly Spirit-baptized believers were able to spontaneously worship God (Acts 2:4) and testify of His power to others (Acts 2:14).
  • Peter could spontaneously respond to the crowd’s question after Peter had finished his sermon (Acts 2:37-39).
  • Peter and John had a spontaneous reply when the Sanhedrin called them in to testify (Acts 4:8).
  • This spontaneous witnessing power was available to them through the Holy Spirit just as Jesus had promised (Matthew 10:17-20).

If we try to just do witnessing, our strategy will be lacking and we’ll quite possibly be caught off-guard in a spontaneous setting. But when we allow the Holy Spirit’s power to transform us TO BE witnesses, our strategies are more effective and our spontaneous moments are too! The Holy Spirit helps us share the really, really, REALLY good news!

4 Quotes About Witnessing Empowerment

AuthenticityThese are the quotes I shared in my message this morning as we wrapped up our series on Pentecost Power. Any of the emphasis in the quotes is mine.

“The strength of the church is not the strength of its institutions but the authenticity of its witness.” —Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola

“The Pentecostal believer is to be something, not just experience something. He or she must become a living witness of Christ on earth.” —Charles Crabtree

“Your very presence should bring such a witness of the Spirit that everyone with whom you come in contact would know that you are a sent one, a light in the world, a manifestation of the Christ, and last of all, a biblical Christian.” —Smith Wigglesworth

“If I may be baptized with the Holy Spirit, I must be. If I am baptized with the Holy Spirit then will souls be saved through my instrumentality who are not so saved if I am not so baptized. If then I am not willing to pay the price of this baptism, and therefore am not so baptized, I am responsible before God for all the souls that might have been saved but were not saved through me because I was not baptized with the Holy Spirit. … There is nothing more deadly than the Gospel without the Spirit’s power. ‘The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.’ It is awfully solemn business [witnessing] either from the pulpit or in quieter ways. It means death or life to those who hear, and whether it means death or life depends very largely on whether we do so without or with the baptism with the Holy Spirit. We must be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” —R.A. Torrey

Links & Quotes

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Some great reading from today…

Very thought-provoking: Can Theology Be True If It’s Self-Contradictory?

“I have never been hurt by what I have not said.” —Calvin Coolidge

“Do you see what God is saying here? ‘If you really want to walk in the Spirit—if you really want My anointing—you need to seek more than direction from Me. You need to come into My presence and get to know My heart, My desires! You see, I want to anoint you—to use you in My kingdom!’” —David Wilkerson

“Where adequate power is present almost any means will suffice, but where the power is absent not all the means in the world can secure the desired end. The Spirit of God may use a song, a sermon, a good deed, a text or the mystery and majesty of nature, but always the final work will be done by the pressure of the inliving Spirit upon the human heart.” —A.W. Tozer

Melinda Penner points out how the Hobby Lobby case has shown how our rights have shifted.

For my pastor friends (and for those who want to bless their pastor:: The Burden Of The Pastor.

Altar To Alter

Altar to alterThe process of sanctification—or as I like remember the word: saint-ification—is the process whereby the Holy Spirit develops Christlike character in us. His process is immediate, personalized and ongoing. In other words, the Spirit is intimately and immediately involved in every aspect of our lives.

Christlikeness in us is described in the Bible with phrases like…

  • Being made new in the attitude of your minds; and putting on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:23-24).
  • Conformed to the likeness of God’s Son (Romans 8:29).

The Holy Spirit is often portrayed as fire. In fact, the Bible says that Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11). This is because in order for Christlike character to be formed in us, that character will have to be forged in us. Forged in the Spirit’s fire.

Look at two examples:

  • Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character (Psalm 105:19).
  • Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).

Here’s what I’ve learned—

We must altar our lives so that the Holy Spirit can alter our lives.

Unless we yield to what the Holy Spirit wants to do with us, He cannot and will not bring about the changes that will lead to more Christlikeness being revealed in us.

It may be painful to altar our lives, but the Apostle Paul says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

You altar, and then watch the Holy Spirit alter your life in a way that reveals God’s glory!

Thursdays With Oswald—Character Development

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Character Development 

     God can put a saint into a right relationship with Himself, but He cannot make him work out that relationship, the saint must do that himself. … 

     God alters our disposition, but He does not make our character. When God alters my disposition the first thing the new disposition will do is to stir up my brain to think along God’s line. As I began to think, begin to work out what God has worked in, it will become character. Character is consolidated thought. God makes me pure in heart; I must make myself pure in conduct.

From Conformed To His Image 

I like to think of the word sanctification this way: saint-ification. Through His Holy Spirit, God is making me a saint, by making it possible for me to demonstrate Christlike conduct.

Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to make a saint out of you? What’s holding you back?

(If you are in the Cedar Springs area this Sunday, I will be talking more about the Holy Spirit’s role in this saint-ification process. Please join me!)

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, and girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father.” See what else Eric Metaxas shares in Men Who Serve And Protect.

“A rejection, or in Scripture’s strong language, a crucifixion of the natural self is the passport to everlasting life. Nothing that has not died will be resurrected.” —C.S. Lewis

“If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to recapture the spirit of worship. We shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness of God and the beauty of Jesus. We shall need to put away our phobias and our prejudices against the deeper life and seek again to be filled with the Holy Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer

The state of California is going to pay abortion providers more money to kill babies. Guess where the funds are coming from? Yep, those doctors who are trying to save lives will be paid less! Bishop Jaime Soto speaks out.

Planned Parenthood wrote an open letter saying the word abortion is not mentioned in Scripture, so that somehow makes it okay to kill innocent lives. Pastor Garrett Kell has a wonderful, biblical response.

In a Family Talk interview with Ryan Dobson, here are some great quotes from Nick Vujicic: “Fear will disable you more than your physical limitations. … When we give God our broken pieces, he can turn our broken pieces into something beautiful. … You’re not important because of how many people know you; you’re important because you’re a child of God. … Don’t be a bystander, be on stand by. I will not allow a bully to bully others. I will not laugh at his jokes, I will not remain silent. I will stand up and say ‘Enough is enough.’”

“Our resources are the Christlikeness we win while immersed in battle. They are the lessons, the faith, the character we gain from warfare with the enemy.” —David Wilkerson

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