Links & Quotes

link quote

Some great reading from today.

“All of the advertising we can do will never equal the interest and participation in the things of God resulting from the gracious answers to the prayers of faith generated by the Holy Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer

“The state of the times extremely requires a fullness of the divine Spirit in ministers, and we ought to give ourselves no rest till we have obtained it. And in order to [do] this, I should think ministers, above all persons, ought to be much in secret prayer and fasting, and also much in praying and fasting one with another. It seems to me it would be becoming the circumstances of the present day, if ministers in a neighborhood would often meet together and spend days in fasting and fervent prayer among themselves, earnestly seeking for those extraordinary supplies of divine grace from heaven, that we need at this day.” —Jonathan Edwards

Why is the media not in an uproar over this?! Pakistani Girls Forced to Renounce Christianity And Marry Muslims

“There is a bond: He takes it and crosses it all out and hands it back to you, and says, ‘There is a full discharge, I have blotted it all out.’ So does the Lord deal with penitents. He has a book in which all your debts are written; but with the blood of Christ He crosses out the handwriting of ordinances which is there written against you. The bond is destroyed, and He will not demand payment for it again. The devil will sometimes insinuate to the contrary, as he did to Martin Luther. ‘Bring me the catalogue of my sins,’ said Luther; and he brought a scroll black and long. ‘Is that all?’ said Luther. ‘No,’ said the devil; and he brought yet another. ‘And now,’ said the heroic saint of God, ‘write at the foot of the scroll: “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin.”’ That is a full discharge.” —Charles Spurgeon

Funny, but instructional, from Ken Davis: Five Super Powers Of Effective Leaders!

Sola Scriptura

Of all the other sola statements that came out of the Reformation, sola scriptura has to be one of the most foundational. Without a firm understanding of the truthfulness of God’s Word, all other doctrinal statements are without authority. Sola scriptura means that we use the Bible as our authoritative guide for everything in our lives.

Jesus confronted the religious leaders for their misuse and abuse of Scripture. The Sadducees had a tendency to ignore the parts of Scripture which didn’t fit their “theology.” The Pharisees, on the other hand, would over-exaggerate some Scriptures which would leave other passages dwarfed or forgotten.

In Matthew 23, Jesus took on both of these incorrect approaches. What I love is that Jesus didn’t share His opinion … He didn’t argue with them … He didn’t try to convince them to accept His viewpoint. Jesus just took them back to Scripture.

  • You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God (23:29).
  • Have you not read what God said to you (23:31).
  • David, speaking by the Spirt… says(23:43).

When Jesus said, “You are in error,” the verb tense is the passive voice. This means it was something done to them, not something they did. These religious leaders were not purposely straying from Scripture, but by listening to men instead of God they allowed themselves to be lead astray.

That’s why this insight from Luke is so powerful:

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)

This is great counsel for all of us. We should all listen to pastors and teachers, or read authors, through the filter of Scripture. We need to make sure we aren’t passively straying, and we do this by examining the Scripture.

I hope you can join me next week as we continue our look at the five solas of the Reformation.

Sola

On October 31, 1517, a sea-change in world history was begun. On that day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of a church, challenging the traditions of organized religion which he believed had strayed far from the instructions in the Bible.

The Reformation had been launched.

I truly believe that we all must be students of history, partly because all of his story is His Story. When we study history, we can see how God is working out His Story.

Second, we also need to know our history because as George Santayana rightly said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

A third reason to (re)learn the thoughts brought out during the Reformation is for doctrinal strength. It’s important to know not only what why believe but why we believe it. And there are some valuable doctrinal truths in the history of the Reformation.

Finally, I believe an important part of learning is unlearning. Sometimes we accept something just because it’s been handed down to us. That is in large part what Luther and other reformers were challenging, and calling us to unlearn tradition and relearn what the Bible has to say.

So beginning this Sunday, October 7, we will be walking through the five Sola doctrinal statements the reformers taught. I am really looking forward to relearning and unlearning, and just outright learning the biblical truths of sola scriptura, sola Deo gloria, sola fide, sola gratia, and sola Christo.

I hope you can join me at Calvary Assembly of God.

4 Myths About Your Temper

This morning I shared with my congregation—in part one of our Ticked Off! series—three myths about anger. I want to add a fourth here…

1.  Anger is a sin. 

God is angry numerous times; in fact, the Old Testament alone has hundreds of verses that mention God’s anger. In the New Testament, Ephesians 4:26 says, “…in your anger do not sin….” It doesn’t say, “don’t get angry,” but “when you’re angry, don’t sin.”

2.  Anger is always destructive. 

Some great advances have been brought about by people who got angry. For instance, Martin Luther, the father of the reformation, wrote, “When I am angry I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations gone.”

3.  Anger doesn’t affect me.

Anger affects you physically. In one medical study researchers found that people who had strokes were more likely to have experienced anger in the two hours prior to having their stroke. It also affects your relationships. After you blow up, people close to you are injured and began to distance themselves from you.

4.  I can manage my anger.

Anger has a tendency to completely seize you, making it next to impossible to manage the furnace of emotions that is raging inside you. You cannot manage your anger! Instead, you need God’s help.

But more on that tomorrow…

7 Quotes From “Dreaming In 3D”

It was hard to narrow down the list to just these quotes, but these seven quotes from Dreaming In 3D by Doug Clay will give you a good feel for this empowering book. You can read my complete review by clicking here.

Unless otherwise noted, the quotes are from Doug Clay:

“The poorest of all men is not the one without a nickel to his name. He is the fellow without a dream.… [He is like] a great ship made for the mighty ocean but trying to navigate in a millpond.” —Kenneth Hildebrand

“For me, a healthy view of God’s dream and of becoming His masterpiece begins by avoiding comparison—in fact, carefully defining who I’m not. I can certainly learn by observing the talents and failures of others, but God didn’t call me to be a carbon copy of them. He created me to be an original edition. If I spend my time comparing my status to others and checking where I am on the acceptability scale, my focus is entirely on me, not on God and His purposes. …Most of the time, comparison produces either pride (if I think I’m doing better than others) or discouragement (if I’m not doing as well). In other words, comparison kills.”

“The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they may be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but… all works are measured before God by faith alone. …Indeed, the menial housework of a manservant or maidservant is often more acceptable to God than all the fasting and other works of a monk or priest, because the monk or priest lacks faith.” —Martin Luther

“People matter. Christ didn’t die for a cause; He died for people. The focus of a God-given dream is never about the size of an organization, the wealth we earn, or the fame we gain from success. It’s touching people’s lives.”

“What a man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” —Victor Frankl

“In the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit love each other and work to accomplish Their unified purposes. God wants us, His Body, to work together to fulfill the dreams He puts on our hearts.”

“No one is outside of God’s incredible dream. Without Jesus, we’re just playing games to impress and control. But when He infuses our lives with love and purpose, we become His partners in the great adventure.”

A Spiritual Reflex

I love Martin Luther’s quote —

“I first lay down these two propositions concerning spiritual liberty and servitude. A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.”

Yesterday we had our annual business meeting — although it was really our annual celebration. The one thing that stood out to me about 2011 is how much serving Calvary Assembly of God did in Cedar Springs. We are servants to everyone!

We picked up trash, put on carnivals, cleaned the Cedar Creek, helped our neighbors, worked with other community organizations, and presented a living nativity. We answered the call to serve whenever and however it came to us. We served individuals, our city governments, our ministerial association, and other churches and non-profit organizations.

Doctors routinely check our patellar reflex, where they tap our leg just below the knee cap and watch the involuntarily response of our leg. This reflex helps maintain posture and balance, allowing us to keep our balance with little effort or conscious thought.

I want my and Calvary Assembly of God’s spiritual patellar reflex in 2012 to be servanthood. When anyone asks for help, our involuntary response should be service. This is the best way to keep our posture and balance as servants of Jesus Christ and servants of our Cedar Springs neighbors.

This is why so many people around here say, “I My Church!” Come join us in serving in 2012.

Faith Is Always Doing

The Apostle James said it this way —

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17)

And I love Martin Luther’s commentary on this —

Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.”

A question for us to ponder: Can people see my faith by what I am doing?

Marriage Math

Martin Luther said:

“There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.”

Unfortunately our culture has water-down and diminished the value of marriage. Far too often marriage is seen as something which diminishes life, instead of enhancing it.

Perhaps this is because we have been viewing marriage with the wrong math.

Marriage is NOT … ½ + ½ = 1.

That makes sense mathematically, but it’s inaccurate. God didn’t create us a half-people. God created us whole and complete. So our spouse is not our better half, he/she is our better whole.

Marriage is NOT … 1 + 1 = 2.

Again, this makes sense mathematically, but it is not biblical. Why? Because 2 is divisible. And the Bible makes it clear that a man and woman who are married are one flesh.

Marriage IS … 1 X 1 = 1.

Not only does this work mathematically, but biblically too. God sees marriage as one whole man and one whole woman coming together to make one whole marriage. Not coincidentally, X (chi) is the first Greek letter of the name Christ. When Christ is at the center of a marriage, and when the husband and wife are more in love with Him than they are with their spouse, then a wholeness exists in the marriage.

1 X 1 = 1 is the type of marriage that glorifies God.

1 X 1 =1 is the type of marriage that is so lovely, friendly, and charming.

If you are single, keep yourself pure so you can bring your “oneness” as a gift to your future spouse. If you are married, keep the X — Jesus Christ — at the center of your marriage.

From The Library Of A.W. Tozer (book review)

From The Library Of A.W. Tozer is an incredible gift from James Stuart Bell to not only fans of A.W. Tozer, but anyone who loves the spiritual classics.

A.W. Tozer was a prolific and influential author in the Pentecostal evangelical circles beginning in the 1960s, but his writings are still influencing thousands today. In reading Tozer, it is obvious that the Scripture is his first and foremost text, but it is equally as obvious that Tozer was a well-read student of the classics. In this compilation, James Stuart Bell gives us access to Tozer’s library. We can read for ourselves the writings that influenced the fertile and productive mind of Aiden Wilson Tozer.

Nicely arranged in eight broad sections, you will read the profound thoughts of Augustine, John Bunyan, Martin Luther, William Law, Charles Spurgeon, Dwight Moody, A.B. Simpson, and G. Morgan Campbell, to name just a few of my favorites. This is a book that you will not only pick up often, but one that will whet your appetite to read more of these classic works yourself.

A wonderful read!

I am a Bethany House book reviewer.

Too Busy

Life’s coming at me way too fast today!

Like a runaway commuter train.

 

I’ve got way too much to get done today!

            Like a shorthanded deli owner at the peak of the lunch rush.

 

My To-Do list is longer than my To-Day’s hours.

What goes first?

What can wait until tomorrow?

What can I delegate to someone else?

 

Wait… listen to this odd counsel about busyness:

“Tomorrow I plan to work, work, from early until late. I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer” (Martin Luther).

 

The first hours praying?!?

Not responding to emails.

Not getting a head start on the piles of stuff.

Not folding laundry before the kids get up.

Not going to the office before the phones start ringing.

 

Up earlier to pray more.

God knows your schedule.

He knows your To-Do list.

He knows your To-Day’s hours.

He knows what’s important… really important.

 

“Love Me. Love others. Serve the world.”

“You must love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. And you must love your neighbor as yourself. Nothing else on your To-Do list is more important than these” (Jesus).

 

Too busy today?

Get up earlier and talk to God about it.

“I direct the steps of those who seek Me. I delight in every detail of their lives” (God).

 

Get up and get praying.

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