Links & Quotes

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John Maxwell says, “Most teams don’t naturally get better on their own. Left alone, they don’t grow, improve, or reach championship caliber. Instead, they tend to wind down.” Read more in 4 leadership styles that trigger peak performance.

“There are some things which I feel I might do, as far as I am concerned, which I believe I might do without suffering any personal hurt, but which I would not do for your sakes and which I dare not do for the sake of many who would take license from my example to do a great deal more than I would do, and would make me the horse on which they would put the saddle of their sin. … The ill example of a Christian is ten times worse than that of one who is not a Christian, for if I see a sinner commit sin, his example is poison, but it is labelled. The inconsistent life of a Christian is unlabelled poison, and I am very likely to be injured by it.” —Charles Spurgeon

Holy service of praise - Calvin“There are a thousand passages, and a thousand testimonies, all bearing on the one Cross, the one propitiation, the one Lamb of God, the one blood, the one sacrifice. Any one of these testimonies in the hand of the Holy Spirit can pour in gladness into the soul. … Gloom dishonors God; joy honors Him. It speaks well of Him, and shows man what a God of goodness and grace He is.” —Horatius Bonar

Profiting From Death

Cecile Richards president of Planned ParenthoodPlanned Parenthood’s murderous activities continue to be exposed, and they continue to lie about it. The simple facts are:

  • Planned Parenthood makes more money from performing abortions than they do any other service.
  • Planned Parenthood alters their abortion procedures (a direct violation of the law) to procure “higher quality specimens.”
  • Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts for substantial monetary gain (also a direct violation of the law).

One of Planned Parenthood’s talking points has been that these videos are edited and unreliable. However, the Alliance Defending Freedom just reported that “a forensic analysis of undercover videos about Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices are ‘authentic and show no evidence of manipulation or editing.’” Read more about this report here.

Are you as disturbed about this illegal and murderous activity as I am? If you are, please let your voice be heard. Share these videos, write to your Representative and Senator, join a prayer vigil outside a local Planned Parenthood office, support a local pregnancy resource center … do something to end these atrocities!

Here’s something you can do right now—sign this petition to help defund Planned Parenthood from receiving millions of our taxpayer dollars.

10 Quotes From “Every Man’s Battle”

Every Man's BattleGuys, you need to read Every Man’s Battle (check out my book review to find out why I say this). Fellas, we can be the men that God desires us to be! Check out some quotes from this powerful book.

“Your purity must not depend upon your mate’s health or desire. God holds you responsible.”

“Why do we find it so easy to mix our standards of sexual sin and so difficult to firmly commit to true purity? Because were used to it. We easily tolerate mixed standards of sexual purity because we tolerate mixed standards in most other areas of life.”

“While in business it’s profitable to seem perfect, in the spiritual realm it’s merely comfortable to seem perfect. It is never profitable. … Excellence is a mixed standard, while obedience is a fixed standard. We want to shoot for the fixed standard.”

“I was asking myself, ‘How far can I go and still be called a Christian?’ The question I should have been asking was, ‘How holy can I be?’”

“We have countless churches filled with countless men encumbered by sexual sin, weakened by low-grade sexual favors—men happy enough to go to Promise Keepers but too sickly to be promise keepers. A spiritual battle for purity is going on in every heart and soul. The costs are real. Obedience is hard, requiring humility and meekness, very rare elements indeed. … If we don’t kill every hint of immorality, we’ll be captured by our tendency as males to draw sexual gratification and chemical highs through our eyes. … As we ask ‘How holy can I be?’ We must pray and commit to a new relationship with God, fully aligned with His call to obedience.”

“Your body isn’t reliable for any spiritual battle, much less the battle for sexual purity and obedience. … Your body often breaks ranks, engaging in battle against you. This traitorous tendency pushes our sexual drive to ignore God’s standards. When this sexual drive combines with our natural male arrogance and our natural male desire to drift from the straight life, we’re primed and fueled for sexual captivity.”

“For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay…because foreplay is any sexual action that naturally takes us down the road to intercourse. Foreplay ignites passions, rocketing us by stages until we go all the way. God views foreplay outside marriage as wrong. … It’s critical to recognize visual sexual impurity as foreplay.” 

“If we get into sexual sin naturally—just by being male—then how do we get out? We can’t eliminate our maleness, and we’re sure we don’t want to. For instance, we want to look at our wives and desire them. They’re beautiful to us, and we’re sexually gratified when we gaze at them, often daydreaming about the night ahead and what bedtime will bring. In its proper place, maleness is wonderful. Yet our maleness is a major root of sexual sin. So what do we do? We must choose to be more than male. We must choose manhood. … Our Heavenly Father also exhorts us to be men. He wants us to be like Him. When He calls us to ‘be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,’ He’s asking us to rise above our natural tendencies to impure eyes, fanciful minds, and wandering hearts. His standard of purity doesn’t come naturally to us. He calls us to rise up, by the power of His indwelling presence, and get the job done.”

“The hands of Jesus…never touched a woman with dishonor. … Jesus not only never touched a woman with dishonor, He never even looked at a woman in dishonor. Could I say that? … ‘Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself,’ one might say. ‘It’s natural for a male to look. That’s part of our nature.’ But what you’re doing is stealing. The impure thought life is the life of a thief. You’re stealing images that aren’t yours. … When we’re thieves with our eyes, we’re embezzling sexual gratification from areas that don’t belong to us, from women who aren’t connected to us.”

“When God looks around, He’s not looking for a man’s man but for ‘God’s man.’ His definition of a man—someone who hears His word and acts upon it—is tough, but at least it’s clear.”

Watch for more quotes soon…

Links & Quotes

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“True servants of God demand to see for all church ordinances and doctrines the express authority of the church’s only Teacher and Lord. They remember that the Lord Jesus bade the apostles to teach believers to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded them. The Holy Spirit revealed much of precious truth and holy precept by the apostles, and to His teaching we would give earnest heed; but when men cite the authority of fathers, and councils, and bishops, we give place for subjection, no, not for an hour. They may quote Irenaeus or Cyprian, Augustine or Chrysostom; they may remind us of the dogmas of Luther or Calvin; they may find authority in Simeon, or Wesley, or Gill. We will listen to the opinions of these great men with the respect they deserve as men, but having so done, we deny that we have anything to do with these men as authorities in the church of God, for there nothing has authority, but ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts.’” —Charles Spurgeon

“Beyond simply confronting cultural abuse and misuse, Christians must make a conscientious effort to restore culture so that it serves as a means and end to the glory of God by demonstrating the love He intends all people to know. … Principally, as we’ve seen, God intends to bring His glory to light through those He has redeemed and come to indwell by His Spirit. Thus, in every aspect of our lives, and in all our cultural activities, we must be diligent to allow the glory of God to show through in us, so that the love God has for humankind and the world can be plainly seen by all.” —T.M. Moore

Fight The New Drug lists 3 types of pornography viewers, and how pornography affects them. If you are affected by pornography, here is some help.

[VIDEO] J. Warner Wallace talks about the best explanation for moral laws—

“It is true that we must be personally bold and afraid of no man but courageous as we contend for the truth. If we are simply nice, concerned, genuinely curious, attentive, supportive, and affirming, we may win a hearing with suffering people, but we will never lead them to life. Grace means courage and clarity. But it is just as true that our boldness must be brokenhearted boldness, that our courage must be a contrite and lowly courage, and that we must be tender contenders for the truth. If we are brash and harsh and cocky and clever, we may win a hearing with angry and pugnacious people, but we will drive away those who suffer. Paul makes it so clear that we are laid low and given comfort ‘so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God’ (2 Corinthians 1:4). Those we counsel must feel that we are utterly dependent in our lives on the merciful comfort of God to make it through our days.” —John Piper

[VIDEO] The danger of radical Islamism—

Every Man’s Battle (book review)

Every Man's BattleMen are wired differently from women (surprise!). While not all men struggle with pornography, the way men are wired makes it easier to allow lust to begin through what we see with our eyes. This is every man’s battle, and this is the reason Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker have given men an essential book called Every Man’s Battle.

If you’re a guy and you say, “I never battle with lust. I can control myself,” I’d like to remind you of one piece of Scripture: If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. In other words, a little humility and a little help is never a bad thing. In fact, it may just help you keep your guard up.

If you’re a guy and you say, “If the truth were known, I do battle lust quite often,” perhaps your battle with lust has even gotten the best of you, and you’ve begun sneaking a peak at things your shouldn’t be looking at. Maybe those quick peaks have even become longer looks … or even turned into a pornography problem.

In whatever category you find yourself, Every Man’s Battle is an invaluable book for men. The authors are very honest about their own struggles with lust and pornography, including the things they tried to help them kick their habit that ultimately failed. What’s presented to us in this book are successful strategies for defeating lust and eliminating pornography from our lives.

I found the strategies they shared to be practical. They weren’t just some “pray a lot and trust God” approaches, but truly things that any guy can put into practice. That’s not to say that they will be easy to do. After all, rewiring the way you’ve been used to doing things is a lot of hard work. But Stephen and Fred give you a biblical foundation, their own lives as examples, and simple next-steps that any guy can do!

There’s a workbook included, which I would recommend for guys to do with an accountability partner. I would also recommend the website We Dared (where you will meet author Stephen Arterburn) to get some daily help in your battle against lust.

GUYS: GET THIS BOOK! Your family, your church, and your community need you to be strong and victorious over lust and pornography.

Links & Quotes

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“The warrior of God is not the man of muscle and a strong jaw, but the man of un-utterable weakness, the man who knows he has not any power; Jacob is no longer strong in himself, he is strong only in God, his life is no longer marked by striving, but by reliance on God. You cannot imitate reliance on God.” —Oswald Chambers

Not perfect but lovedI normally don’t like having my picture taken, but for the Champions of Change project, Adam Bird did an amazing job with even a face like mine!

Pornography addictions act like any other addiction. Check out this video.

The Overview Bible Project always has great Bible study resources, like this one. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do so.

“True believers are determined to trust God even if their prayer isn’t answered. It doesn’t matter if all their goods are taken away, or even if they face death. They desire to enter God’s rest. What is the evidence of such a life? They have ‘ceased from [their] own works’ (see Hebrews 4:10). They no longer lie awake at night trying to solve their problems in their own wisdom and skill. Instead, they turn everything over to Jesus. It doesn’t matter whether they end up in gain or loss. Their only focus is that God has a plan, and that He is working it out in their lives.” —David Wilkerson

Seth Godin reminds us that improving our attitude is a skill that can be learned.

J. Warner Wallace shares the exquisite fine-tuning of our universe that points to an Intelligent Designer/Creator.

“Is there anything more freeing, more thrilling, or more strengthening than the truth that God Almighty is your refuge—all day, every day in all the ordinary and extraordinary experiences of life? If we believed this, if we really let this truth of God’s omnipotence get hold of us, what a difference it would make in our personal lives and in our ministries! How humble and powerful we would become for the saving purposes of God!” —John Piper

“All the year round, every hour of every day, God is richly blessing us; both when we sleep and when we wake, His mercy waits upon us. The sun may leave off shining, but our God will never cease to cheer His children with His love. Like a river His lovingkindness is always flowing, with a fulness inexhaustible as His own nature, which is its source. Like the atmosphere which always surrounds the earth, and is always ready to support the life of man, the benevolence of God surrounds all His creatures.” —Charles Spurgeon

Dan Reiland has 5 questions for great communicators.

Champions Of Change

I was so honored to be nominated as a Champion of Change by some of the wonderful folks I work with in Cedar Springs. Truly honored! Adam Bird is a photographer, and he has partnered with the Heart of West Michigan United Way to create an ArtPrize exhibit that will encourage others to get involved in their community.

Here is a mosaic of all of the Champions of Change in the ArtPrize exhibit—

PHPChampsQuilt

If you would like to check out some of the other pictures Adam shot of me, please check out his amazing work here.

Here’s how you can help be a Champion of Change:

  1. Get involved in your community.
  2. Use the hashtag #ChampionsOfChange on social media to support those who are making changes in your community.
  3. Vote for the Adam Bird/United Way ArtPrize exhibit by voting for code 62350.

One Word

RedemptionWhen it comes right down to it, there is really just one word that makes Christians peculiar. Just one word changes our citizenship from Earth to Heaven. One word took us from a path where our sins had us headed toward an eternity in Hell.

Jesus stepped in where He didn’t have to go. Jesus became our sin to pay-off our sin debt. Jesus took us back from satan’s possession, and made us a part of His Father’s family.

Jesus redeemed us! 

I wonder if we truly understand that word redemption?

Peter is speaking to us as “strangers here in reverent fear” on Earth, and he calls us to live up to God’s call—Be holy, because I am holy (1 Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:44-45). He asks us to obediently follow God’s Word (1:22), to get rid of Earth-bound things (2:1), and instead taste that the Lord is good (2:3).

Why? Because we’ve been “redeemed from the empty way of life…by the precious blood of Christ” (1:18-19) We don’t live holy lives to try to earn redemption, but because we have been redeemed we are now capable of living holy lives!

To help illustrate his point, Peter quotes a couple of verses from Isaiah 40. In this chapter, we are invited to weigh the greatness and love and knowledge and power of God against the things we can provide for ourselves on Earth. Please check out the video below, where I go through this 40th chapter of Isaiah.

If you don’t have a home church in the Cedar Springs area, please join us this Sunday at 10:30am for our special guest speaker Jeff Hlavin. Pastor Hlavin will be continuing in our series on Aliens and Strangers. If you cannot join us live, tune-in to the Periscope broadcast (search @craigtowens on Periscope).

It’s Your Choice

ChoicesIn just seven verses, Jesus tells us how to experience God’s blessing or be prepared to say, “Woe is me!” What a contrast! Check out Luke 6:20-26.

The four blessed promises are in verses 20-22, and the four woe warnings are in verses 24-26. Connecting them (v. 23) is Jesus essentially saying, “You can have blessing, or you can have woe. Your choice.”

There is a secure reward and eternal blessing for those who—

  • are Earth-poor and Heaven-rich
  • are dissatisfied with anything but the things of God
  • weep over the present sinful state of humanity
  • are persecuted, excluded, insulted or rejected by the world because they identify with Christ

But woe to those who—

  • want riches and comfort now
  • are satisfied with what the world can give
  • laugh at the smutty things of Earth
  • desire worldly popularity above hearing God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”

Choices must be made every day. These choices lead to either blessing or woe

Choose the blessings!

Links & Quotes

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“Sins of the flesh are never to be reasoned or parleyed with; there is no more reasoning with them than with the winds…. We must fly. It is true valor in such a case to turn the back. ‘Resist the devil,’ says James, but Paul does not say ‘resist lust’; he puts it thus—‘Flee also youthful lusts.’ When warring with the legions of unrighteousness we shall need all the best powers of our renewed nature, for the conflict will be stern.” —Charles Spurgeon

John Piper and the Desiring God team have a new book available: The Joy Project. You can download the ebook version free of charge.

Detroit Tigers fans (especially those who know the history of the Tigers) will appreciate this article about Miguel Cabrera. I especially think that, in terms of a pure hitter, the comparison to Ty Cobb is right on.

The Democrats in the US House and Senate are making it more and more clear that they are interested in money and position, not in life and liberty. It is unconscionable that anyone could vote against a bill that says a baby born alive after a failed abortion should be allowed to live.

My friend, Pastor Dave Barringer, has some good thoughts on rest and burn-out. Pastors especially should take the time to read this one.

“Porn makes you think you are having sexual needs met, but really they are hollow and leave you feeling empty and lonelier than before.” Read more in this post: What it means to be pro-sex and anti-porn.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell says setbacks can be “set-ups” if we handle them correctly—

[VIDEO] J. Warner Wallace explains how human consciousness points to a Creator—

 

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