What Place Does Prayer Have?

What is the place of prayer in your life? What prominence does it have in our lives? It is a question that I address to all. It is as necessary that it should reach the man who is well versed in the Scripture, and who has a knowledge of its doctrine and its theology, as that it should reach anyone else. What part does prayer play in our lives and how essential is it to us? Do we realize that without it we faint? Our ultimate position as Christians is tested by the character of our prayer life.

“It is more important than knowledge and understanding. Do not imagine that I am detracting from the importance of knowledge. I spend most of my life trying to show the importance of having a knowledge of truth and an understanding of it. That is vitally important. There is only one thing that is more important, and that is prayer. The ultimate test of my understanding of the Scriptural teaching is the amount of time I spend in prayer. As theology is ultimately the knowledge of God, the more theology I know, the more it should drive me to seek to know God. Not to know about Him, but to know Him. The whole object of salvation is to bring me to a knowledge of God. I may talk learnedly about regeneration, but what is eternal life? It is that they might know Thee, the only true God in Jesus Christ whom God has sent.

If all my knowledge does not lead me to prayer there is something wrong somewhere. It is meant to do that. The value of the knowledge is that it gives me such an understanding of the value of prayer, that I devote time to prayer and delight in prayer. If it does not produce these results in my life, there is something wrong and spurious about it, or else I am handling it in a wrong manner.” —Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (emphasis added)

Sit Walk Stand [re-launch]

Sit Walk StandThis coming Sunday we re-start a series at Calvary Assembly of God which we first began in 2014, and re-launched in 2015, called Sit Walk Stand: A Study In The Book Of Ephesians.

Why Ephesians? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who preached 232 sermons on this book to his packed-out church, said, “It is very difficult to speak of Ephesians in a controlled manner because of its greatness. Many have tried to describe it. One writer has described it as the crown and climax of Pauline theology. Another has said that it is the distilled essence of the Christian religion, the most authoritative and most consummate compendium of our holy Christian faith. What language! And it is by no means exaggerated.”

It is my desire that our congregation be as biblically literate as I can encourage and resource them to be. So Tom Kaastra, a 38-year veteran pastor, is going to co-teach with me again this year as we continue our attempt to master this powerful epistle.

The name of our series—Sit Walk Stand—comes from Watchman Nee, who wrote, “Of all Paul’s epistles, it is in Ephesians that we find the highest spiritual truths concerning the Christian life. The letter abounds with spiritual riches, and yet at the same time is intensely practical.”

Please join us at Calvary Assembly of God this Sunday at 10:30am.

Whether you were with us last year or not, I posted some sermon recaps each week which will help prepare you as we re-launch this series. Click on the links below:

From 2014—

From 2015—

Links & Quotes

link quote

“The whole duty of the Christian can be summed up in this: feel, think, and act in a way that will make God look as great as He really is. Be a telescope for the world of the infinite starry wealth of the glory of God.” —John Piper

It’s pretty sad—and quite telling—when Planned Parenthood’s arguments for abortion sound eerily similar to pro-slavery and pro-Nazi arguments of the past.

Seth Godin reminds us that past performance is no guarantee of future results. Check it out! I also really liked Seth Godin’s warning about getting caught up in the Black Friday hype.

“Things will all work out” and “You can do anything you set your mind to” are just two of the seven sentimental lies you might believe.

Eric Metaxas shares about a “crisis of despair” where the church is desperately needed.

What a comfort we can have in this—“This very day I am being saved by the eternal intercession of Jesus in heaven. Jesus is praying for us and that is our salvation [Hebrews 7:25]. We are saved eternally by the eternal prayers (Romans 8:34) and advocacy (1 John 2:1) of Jesus in heaven as our High Priest. He prays for us and His prayers are answered because He prays perfectly on the basis of His perfect sacrifice.” —John Piper

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones asks a vitally important question: How’s your prayer life?

[VIDEO] A great look at competitiveness from John Maxwell—

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Parents! I do hope you are all endeavoring to bring your children to Christ by teaching them the things of God. Let them not be strangers to the plan of salvation. Never let it be said that a child of yours reached years in which his conscience could act, and he could judge between good and evil, without knowing the doctrine of the atonement, without understanding the great substitutionary work of Christ. Set before your child life and death, hell and heaven, judgment and mercy, his own sin, and Christ’s most precious blood; and as you set these before him, labor with him, persuade him, as the apostle did his congregation, with tears and weeping, to turn unto the Lord.” —Charles Spurgeon

“The role of God’s Word is to feed faith’s appetite for God. And, in doing this, it weans my heart away from the deceptive taste of lust. … As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.” —John Piper

“This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.” —G.K. Chesterton

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking … yourself is talking to you!” —Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Planned Parenthood updates:

Ultrasounds = good for saving babies, bad for Planned Parenthood’s business.

Earlier this week I shared a list of companies who support Planned Parenthood (at least PP had listed them as supporters on its website). Here’s what these companies said when they were contacted by The Daily Signal. Good news: It appears that many of them are not supporting PP financially.

PP cartoonHopefully this cartoon doesn’t describe you… (click the link or the picture to see the rest of it).

Sit Walk Stand [re-launch]

Sit Walk StandThis coming Sunday we re-start a series at Calvary Assembly of God which we began last year called Sit Walk Stand: A Study In The Book Of Ephesians.

Why Ephesians? Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, who preached 232 sermons on this book to his packed-out church, said, “It is very difficult to speak of Ephesians in a controlled manner because of its greatness. Many have tried to describe it. One writer has described it as the crown and climax of Pauline theology. Another has said that it is the distilled essence of the Christian religion, the most authoritative and most consummate compendium of our holy Christian faith. What language! And it is by no means exaggerated.”

It is my desire that our congregation be as biblically literate as I can encourage and resource them to be. So Tom Kaastra, a 38-year veteran pastor, is going to co-teach with me again this year as we continue our attempt to master this powerful epistle.

The name of our series—Sit Walk Stand—comes from Watchman Nee, who wrote, “Of all Paul’s epistles, it is in Ephesians that we find the highest spiritual truths concerning the Christian life. The letter abounds with spiritual riches, and yet at the same time is intensely practical.”

Please join us this Sunday at 10:30am.

Whether you were with us last year or not, I posted some sermon recaps each week which will help prepare you as we re-launch this series. Click on the links below:

Holy Fire (book review)

Holy FireI believe the subtitle of R.T. Kendall’s book Holy Fire is the most apt description of this work: A Balanced, Biblical Look at the Holy Spirit’s Work in Our Lives. Truly this book is both biblical and balanced.

“I am writing this book (1) to introduce the Holy Spirit as if you did not know very much about Him, (2) to show the inconsistency of the teaching of some evangelicals, but (3) also to warn you of strange fire that is about,” says Dr. Kendall.

It seems lately there is a great deal of UNbalance when discussing the Holy Spirit, and much “theology” being preached which doesn’t have a firm biblical foundation. Some want to emphasize the Spirit’s role so much that they almost exclude God the Father and God the Son. Others want to so downplay the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives today that they have almost become binitarians. Kendall stated, “The Holy Spirit does not belong to you. Are you Charismatic? He is bigger than your signs and wonders event. Are you Reformed? He will not be limited by your theology.”

Sticking close to the words of Scripture, R.T. Kendall walks us through the various roles of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He brings in the insights of other notable thinkers from Martin Luther, to John Calvin, to Jonathan Edwards, to George Whitefield, and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Even for someone like me who grew up in the Pentecostal tradition, I learned so much from this book!

Holy Fire is not written in a scholarly tone, but in a conversational style that made me feel I was talking with R.T. Kendall. This allowed me to drink in what Rev. Kendall was saying, process it, compare it with Scripture, and reach my own conclusions.

An excellent book that is very timely for the Christian era in which we currently live. Whether your background is Pentecostal or Reformed, there is so much to be learned from Holy Fire.

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some great reading from this weekend…

Are you a Christian? Then there’s something dreadfully wrong with you. You’re unthinking; you’re unscientific; you can’t see how badly Christianity botches morality. You represent a deeply defective culture that’s been getting all the most important things wrong for a hundred generations.” Read more from Tom Gilson in Skeptics Dehumanizing Christianity.

“No one can know truth except the one who obeys truth. You think you know truth. People memorize the Scriptures by the yard, but that is not a guarantee of knowing the truth. Truth is not a text. Truth is in the text, but it takes the text plus the Holy Spirit to bring truth to a human soul.” —A.W. Tozer

Important news for pregnant women: Take care of your teeth. “The results reinforce data suggesting a link between periodontal disease in the mother and the risk of preterm birth.” Read more in Bacteria Found In Healthy Placentas.

Many contemporary critics of the faith charge that Christianity is a barrier to progress. … But the overwhelming weight of good is undeniable—and indispensable to civilization.” Read more in The ABCs Of Christian Civilization.

[VIDEO] Rep. Trey Gowdy asks “Did the media ever pursue these big questions on Benghazi?”

“Biblical hope is not wishful thinking or an optimistic outlook; rather, it is a confident expectation based on the certainty of God’s Word that as He has anchored us in the past, so He will in the future.” —David Wilkerson

“You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.” —Jim Stovall

“The Bible was not given to replace the miraculous but to correct abuses.” —Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Links & Quotes

link quote

Here are the links to some interesting reading I found this weekend.

“The Holy Spirit does not belong to you. Are you charismatic? He is bigger than your signs and wonders event. Are you Reformed? He will not be limited by your theology.” —R.T. Kendall

“The worst thing that can happen to a man is to succeed before he is ready.” —Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Where is the outrage in the American mainstream media?! Kidnapped School Girls In Nigeria Sold As Child Brides.

It’s funny that many secularists believe that Christian myths about Jesus evolved over time until they were written down generations later. This is the thesis in Bart Ehrman’s latest book. It’s not accurate. It’s funny because there are things believed by some of the same secularists that actually are myths that evolved over time to create the impression that Christianity is a science stopper and anti-intellectual. One of these myths is about the scientific revolution that was purportedly initiated by Copernicus and the supposed subsequent opposition from the church to his heliocentric theories.” Read more of this eye-opening post: Copernicus And The Scientific Revolution.

Disney’s Peter Rummell shares how the Imagineers keep the great ideas coming.

“The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden— that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time.” —C.S. Lewis

“When sin is pardoned, our greatest sorrow is ended, and our truest pleasure begins. Such is the joy which the Lord bestows upon His reconciled ones, that it overflows and fills all nature with delight. The material world has latent music in it, and a renewed heart knows how to bring it out and make it vocal.” —Charles Spurgeon

Sit Walk Stand

Sit Walk StandThis coming Sunday we begin a new series at Calvary Assembly of God called Sit Walk Stand: A Study In The Book Of Ephesians.

Why Ephesians? Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, who preached 232 sermons on this book to his packed-out church, said, “It is very difficult to speak of Ephesians in a controlled manner because of its greatness. Many have tried to describe it. One writer has described it as the crown and climax of Pauline theology. Another has said that it is the distilled essence of the Christian religion, the most authoritative and most consummate compendium of our holy Christian faith. What language! And it is by no means exaggerated.”

It is my desire that the congregation of Calvary Assembly of God be as biblically literate as I can encourage and resource them to be. So Tom Kaastra, a 38-year veteran pastor, is going to co-teach with me, and we’re going to spend the next 6-weeks mastering this powerful epistle. Then we’ll pick it up again around this same time next year, as we continue our way through the entire letter.

The name of our series—Sit Walk Stand—comes from Watchman Nee, who wrote, “Of all Paul’s epistles, it is in Ephesians that we find the highest spiritual truths concerning the Christian life. The letter abounds with spiritual riches, and yet at the same time is intensely practical.”

Please join us this Sunday at 10:30am.

12 Quotes From “Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire”

Pouring Holy Water On Strange FireIn Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire, Frank Viola uses an extensive array of sources, both ancient and contemporary, in his critique of John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire. You can read my full book review by clicking here. I hope you will enjoy these quotes as much as I did.

“For some do certainly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe, and join themselves to the church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic utterances. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to name the number of the gifts which the church throughout the whole world has received from God, in the name of the Jesus Christ (2.32.4) … For this reason does the apostle declare, who speak wisdom among them that are perfect, terming those persons perfect who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all tongues, as he used himself also to speak. In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of tongues, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of God, whom also the apostle terms spiritual, they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit (5.6.1).” —Irenaeus, Against Heresies

“Now was absolutely fulfilled that promise of the Spirit which was given by the word of Joel: ‘In the last days will I pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and their daughters shall prophesy; and upon My servants and upon My handmaids will I pour out of my Spirit.’ Since then the Creator promised the gifts of His Spirit in the latter days; and since Christ has in these last days appeared as the dispenser of spiritual gifts … it evidently follows in connection with this prediction of the last days, that this gift of the Spirit belongs to Him who is the Christ of the predictors … Let Marcion then exhibit, as gifts of his god, some prophets, such as have not spoken by human sense, but with the Spirit of God, such as have both predicted things to come, and have made manifest the secrets of the heart; let him produce a psalm, a vision, a prayer—only let it be by the Spirit, in an ecstasy, that is, in a rapture, whenever an interpretation of tongues has occurred to him; let him show to me also, that any woman of boastful tongue in his community has ever prophesied from amongst those specially holy sisters of his. Now all these signs of spiritual gifts are forthcoming from my side without any difficulty, and they agree, too, with the rules, and the dispensations, and the instructions of the Creator; therefore without doubt the Christ, and the Spirit, and the apostle, belong severally to my God. Here, then, is my frank avowal for any one who cares to require it (Bk. 5, Ch. 8).” —Tertullian, Against Marcion

“Anyone who cuts out portions of Scripture is guilty of very grievous sin … I say once more, there, that to hold such a view [cessationism] is simply to quench the Spirit.” —D. Martin Lloyd-Jones

“Therefore to say that because we now have all the writings of Scripture complete we no longer need the miraculous inspiration of the Spirit among men as in former days is a degree of blindness as great as any that can be charged upon the scribes and the Pharisees. … There is no degree of delusion higher than that which is evidenced by those who profess to teach from the divinely inspired Scriptures that the immediate, continual illumination and working of the Spirit in men’s hearts ceased when the canon of Scripture was complete. To deny the present prophetic gift in the church is to deny also that very manifestation of Christ today to His own which the Scriptures teach is the only means to the reality of Gospel Christianity.” —William Law

“But He has left to us the same power He possess. This [the indwelling Holy Spirit to continue Jesus’s life and ministry and to perpetuate miracles] is the mighty gift of our ascended Lord. This is the supreme need of the church today … the constitution of the church is identical with the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. … We cannot leave out any part of the gospel without weakening the rest; and if there ever was an age when the world needed the witness of God’s supernatural working, it is the day of unbelief and satanic power.” —A.B. Simpson

“The devil only bothers to counterfeit that which is real and a threat to his kingdom.” —Frank Viola

“A Bible-based sermon can be equal in truth if rooted in Scripture, but not equal in authority to the Bible.” —Frank Viola

“Spirit can embrace intellect, but human intellect won’t comprehend Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer

“We need to learn that truth consists not in correct doctrine, but correct doctrine plus the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer 

“We cannot make too much of this matter of revelation, illumination, seeing. It is basic in salvation (Acts 26:18). It is essential to effective ministry (2 Corinthians 4:6) and it is indispensable to full knowledge and full growth (Ephesians 1:17)…. The kind of seeing to which we refer is an epoch, an encounter, a revelation, a crisis. There is no power on this earth which could have changed that rabid, fanatical, bigoted Saul of Tarsus, a ‘Pharisee of the Pharisees,’ into ‘the apostle of the Gentiles’ (Romans 11:13)…. Argument would not have done it. Neither persuasion nor persecution nor martyrdom would have effected it. But it was done! That ‘conversion’ stood the test of all persecutions, sufferings, and adversities possible to man for the rest of his life…. Indeed, a fundamental and preeminent work of the Holy Spirit has to do with spiritual enlightenment and supremely as to the significance of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. It is all in the Scriptures, but still our eyes may be holden…. We can be governed by objective truth. It can be ‘the truth’—orthodox, sound, Bible truth. We can be governed by that simply because it is taught; we do it objectively. But there is something more than that. There is such a thing as the Holy Spirit taking hold of the truth of God and making it something that lives in us…. Many Christians are just Christians: that is, after they are saved, their Christian life consists in doing as they are told by the minister because it is presented to them as the thing they should do. But there is a much higher level of life than that. The thing is right, but it is altogether transformed when the Holy Spirit brings it home to us in an inward way, and adjusts us to it. We no longer do it because it has got to be done: we do it because the Lord has done something in us, and shown us that that is the thing that He wants done… it is no more mechanical, it is vital!” —T. Austin Sparks

“To downplay and criticize a genuine desire to know our Lord in greater capacity and to receive clear direction from God’s Spirit in greater measure is contrary to the exhortation and examples found in Scripture. Certainly, spiritual contentment and complacency would have drawn from Paul the strongest reproof. And it did so from Jesus in the book of Revelation.” —Frank Viola

“One thing the charismatic movement has been sent to do, I believe, is to alert us all to the fact that God, when trusted, will show His hand in many thrilling ways, and we should be expecting Him to do that, though without dictating to Him what He must do in particular situations.” —J.I. Packer

%d bloggers like this: