29 May 2006

Turning Wisdom into Law

by Terry Rayburn.

If you're a Legalist, everything looks like a law.

The Legalist can take the most encouraging passages of wisdom from Scripture and turn them into a law to clunk you over the head with. It's uncanny.

An example is Hebrews 10:25, "...not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near."

What a wonderful verse. Reminding us to not isolate ourselves from the Body of Christ, but to encourage one another, and "...consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds." (Heb. 10:24).

It's a joyful verse, filled with hope!

But the Legalist makes it a law. A law that goes something like this:

Go to church! At least the worship service! And frankly, if you don't show up every time the door is open, I wonder about you. If you miss church, you are in sin. This is a command of God, one of His many laws. And laws are meant to be kept. Look at John over there. He comes to church every time the doors are opened. Now that's a godly man! I'm watching you.

(I kinda hate to even write the above diatribe as a Legalist would think, because I can feel some of you cringe with the old legalistic thinking. But if you recognize it, in all its horror, then you can reject it, repudiate it, replace it with Grace-filled thinking.)

Without regard to the heart, the Legalist looks at the actions. And having imposed his law-based twist on every scripture, he will heap condemnation on you in a New York minute if you don't see it his way.

Even if you LOVE the scripture in question, and your heart is devoted and grateful to Christ, who is our Wisdom, the Legalist will turn it into an opportunity to accuse you...IF you listen to him.

Don't listen to him.

Listen to the lover of your soul. Listen to the bridegroom. Listen to the Shepherd.

Link: Turning Wisdom into Law

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26 May 2006

SoloChristo.com – Associate Editor's Journey

When once a Pentecostal fellow
I danced into teaching waters shallow
To embrace Dispensational Arminian error
I could not see the deeper marrow

But then to Calvinism I came
To see fuller glory in the Sovereign Name
And learn our Lord did all creation tame
That truth shone so brightly in my heart and brain

Into Presbyterian arms I fled
The Westminster Confession became my bread
Then to become a deacon I was asked
If the Confession reflected my head and heart

"Give me some time before I bind
My conscience to that Confession sublime"
So to the Word and to the web
I went to gain further clarity for my head

SoloChristo showed Dispensational and Covenant Theology
Are not the only ways to grasp redemptive history
Through that site I came to love dearly
What Tom and Fred* call New Covenant Theology

'Twas a sad and gloomy day
When SoloChristo went away
The world wide web was not the same
And I felt that it was such a shame

So in hot pursuit I went
To find Dale and the site content
I searched quite hard with real intent
But it seemed progress was just not meant

For a year not a word to me was said
I did not know if he were alive or dead
But then through his family I found
My mate Dale still safe on solid ground

"Brother, it is good to finally speak to you
Please tell me SoloChristo is not through"
It was clear to us the time was right
To restore the site with its gospel light

So through our Lord's kindness to me
SoloChristo is alive again you see!
And by His grace I pray it grows
As a channel for His glory to show

So in addition to New Covenant Theology
I've come to learn web methodology
So web editing is now my hobby
For attempting poetry is just folly!


Shane Becker.
*Tom Wells and Fred Zaspel wrote the book, "New Covenant Theology".

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Prayer Quotes

"The first sign..of coming revival is usually a stirring up of the prayer life of God's people." Ian Malins
"Every new Pentecost has had a preparatory period of burdened supplication." J. Oswald Sanders
"Only long, continued, faith-filled travailing prayer can bring true revival." A.W. Tozer
"There are many who want the joy of revival without the sorrow of travail." David Smithers
"The Holy Spirit does not play games with us or with our prayer lives.  When He gives us hunger and prayer burden for revival, He Himself and our beloved interceding High Priest are one with us in that holy desire." Wesley Duewel

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21 May 2006

Treasuring Christ in Earthen Vessels

The Power within Redeemed Earthen Vessels
by Bob Hoekstra

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  (2Co_4:7)

In our previous meditation on this same verse, we saw that God has placed extraordinary heavenly treasure in ordinary earthen vessels. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels." This is true of every person who has been redeemed by the blood of Christ. The Lord has arranged it this way so that the vessels (you and me) must rely upon the treasure (Jesus Christ), not upon ourselves: "that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." Also, this arrangement is to bring attention and glory to the Lord, not to the vessels.

The Lord is the treasure in the "clay pot" of our redeemed humanity. He is to be the "excellent power" in our lives. He is the one we are to trust in as our strength for daily living. When the battles grow fierce, trust in the Lord. "You have armed me with strength for the battle" (Psa_18:39). When we need patience or endurance, trust in the Lord: "Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering" (Col_1:11). When we need strength for our latter years, trust in the Lord. "The LORD has kept me alive . . . here I am this day, eighty-five years old . . . yet I am as strong this day as I was on the day that Moses sent me" (Jos_14:10-11). Even in times of extreme personal weakness, His strength can be especially apparent.  "I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2Co_12:9-10).

The temptation is to trust in our "sturdy structure" (or in those who claim to be able to strengthen or reinforce weak vessels). Our personal resources will fail, but the Lord who dwells in our hearts will not fail. "My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psa_73:26). The world system with all of its impressive riches calls us to place our confidence in their resources. The Lord warns us that such misplaced trust becomes our downfall. "Woe to the rebellious children . . who . . . go down to Egypt . . . to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh . . . the strength of Pharaoh shall be your shame" (Isa_30:1-3).

We are to trust the Lord to be our strength. "The LORD is my strength and my shield" (Psa_28:7). Then, we are to give the Lord glory for the strength He supplies. "My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him" (Psa_28:7).

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20 May 2006

Review of the Da Vinci Code movie by James White

Good article.

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19 May 2006

Prayer Quotes

"What we need is a great deal more private prayer." J. Vernon McGee

"I have seen many men work without praying, though I have never seen any good come out of it" James Hudson Taylor

"God performs acts of power in response to prayer that he would not otherwise do. If this is not true, then the Bible is filled with countless inaccuracies and fairy tales." Jim Cymbala

"Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance. It is laying hold of God's willingness." George Muller

"Don't pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it." Corrie Ten Boom

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15 May 2006

A Blogger's Version of 1 Corinthians 13

by Steve Sensenig

If I blog with words that impress greatly and have the most beautiful blog template, but have not love, I am only a bunch of meaningless pixels scattered across the screen. If I have large numbers of readers coming to my blog, and hundreds of comments on every post, but have not love, I am no better than the blogger who has no readers at all. If I can exegete Scripture impressively and convince others of my theological perspective but have not love, I gain nothing.

A loving blogger is patient and kind. Love does not envy other's site statistics, it does not boast in its own viewpoints, it is not proud of what it writes. Love is not rude to those who comment, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered by disagreements, it keeps no record of wrongs. A loving blogger does not delight in speaking or reading evil but rejoices with speaking the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are blog hosts, their servers will fail; where there is heavy blog traffic, it will be reduced to nothing; where there is impressive writing, it will all be deleted from the file system.
For we know in part and we write blog posts in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a beginning blogger, I wrote about trivial subjects, I jumped to conclusions about other viewpoints, I paid no attention to how I talked to others. When I became a mature blogger, I put beginners' ways behind me.

Now we see but a basic representation of our words as on an old monochrome monitor; then we shall understand all of this theological truth in its fullest. Now I only understand a little bit about which I write; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: site statistics, creative writing and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Original Post:
Theological Musings: A Blogger's Version of 1 Corinthians 13

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John Piper Quote of the Day

"If you don't give gladness, you don't give the gospel; you give legalism."
(The Supremacy of God in Preaching, pg. 53)

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07 May 2006

The Day of Evil and The Value of our Glorious Hope

"Thou art my hope in the day of evil" Jeremiah 17:17
"The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. True, it is written in God's Word, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;" and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be "As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day," yet sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer's sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light. There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the "green pastures" by the side of the "still waters," but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, "Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen." Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness. The best of God's saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of His children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God's full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope."  C.H. Spurgeon.

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05 May 2006

Prayer Quotes

"We understand little about prayer and its effects; if we understood more we would pray more." George Strachan

"Prayer, real prayer, hours of unbroken, uninterrupted waiting on God, seems to be largely an experience of the past." Oswald J. Smith

"More people believe in prayer than practice it." Anonymous

"There is nothing on earth that Satan so fears as prayer. He does not know how to cope with prayer, so he concentrates on keeping you from prayer or getting you to give up before you get prayer's answer." Wesley Duewel

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04 May 2006

Encouraging Testimony of One Pastor's Journey into Expository Preaching

"An anonymousized version of a testimony sent to Mark Dever. Read on and enjoy this refreshing reminder about the power of expositional preaching to change both preachers and their people.


I am a Senior Pastor of a Baptist Church. I am writing to thank you for your remarks at the Shepherds Conference. Your book 9 Marks has also been a great help. I guess I could simply say you have been a blessing to me and the ministry God has given me.

You should know that what you are doing to help rally reformed pastors to restore the church to health and biblical authority is an important work!

In [this large metro area], churches are wealthy enough to market themselves a crowd (I am also guilty). And how do we market? By asking and supplying what people say they prefer for their church experience. Given that my community finds relevance the most important value to hold, I have been feeding them human enrichment rather than eternal and powerful truth (I have been like Joel Osteen in style with a little SBC culture thrown in). I have grown a church of baptized pagans.

I thought you might be encouraged to hear the short version of what God is doing in me and through me.

I finished [seminary] in 2001 with my M. Div in Church Growth and came to [the church I now pastor]. As soon as I got to [this church], I began to market my church and move full on in contemporary ways (mailers, movies, skits, felt needs preaching, topical preaching, improve your life preaching etc). It worked to grow the crowd. We went from 300 to 500 then to 800. We built a new worship center of 1200 seats. We hired staff and started language congregations on our campus totaling 6 now. We were successful by the worlds standard. What I have seen in these years is a lifetime of church growth tricks, ideas, and miracles in a box. I added up the mailers we have done to be more that 500,000 pieces in these years all with felt needs appeals. Though my crowd was growing, we were not growing a church. We would gain 100 then lose 50 because of fighting and selfish demands of one group with another. I would do another growth campaign and gain more only to lose others. Growing numerically has been a roller coaster! What a miserable thing always looking for the next fad. What a sad life for the local church!

Then, about a year ago God convinced me to teach a verse by verse series through the book of 1st Peter. I dont know why I agreed. I guess since it was Sunday night I thought I would appease some of the more conservative in the church. I thought I would spend about 1 message per chapter. I began early 2005 and now I am beginning chapter 3! I must say that God had a miracle for me in His Word. I began preaching 1 Peter 1:1 and I began seeking what God meant in the text instead of what I wanted to find in the text. Over the summer, the scales fell from my eyes and I saw things previously unknown. Namely, I saw the sovereignty of God in converting sinners! I simply taught each Sunday night what God taught me the week before. The audience sat watching in amazement. They saw God; they saw me alive with the power of God. They saw truth. They didnt know what was happening to me or them but Gods children liked it! I saw them with pads and pens taking down every word I said! Every week since then we have been glorying in the Word.

So, my testimony is that I was able to remain an Arminian and retain a felt needs approach through 8 years of study during Bible college and seminary. None of the great professors could change my mind. What listening to the brightest minds in theology today could not do one summers expository preaching did. Gods Word is powerful not our use of Gods Word but Gods true message in His Word is powerful! Powerful not just to convert sinners but also to transform preachers!

My Sunday night group liked so much the teaching and I loved so much the learning that I began on Sunday in the AM an expositional series through the Gospel of Matthew (a big change from You can have the Abundant Life Now kinds of sermons). Some loved it and others hated it. I would get a call one minute from someone who just discovered some new blessed truth in the Word and in the next moment I would get a call from a church leader saying I was ruining the church with the theological teaching! We are approaching one year in Matthew and I am in chapter 5.

At this time our attendance has dropped back to about 500 but those who remain are happier, more peaceful, and hungrier for God than ever. We are adding new people who are coming because of our beliefs and teaching rather than our gimmicks. Those who came for the bread are moving on but those who love the meat are growing and loving God more.

Frankly, I am in a tension filled time. The members I taught to value growth above all things now want me to pull more growth tricksI am lying in the bed I made. I have a lot of teaching to do to turn this ship completely. What I am working to do at this point is teach biblical values that can empower my membership to make Godly decisions and allow me to move the ministries into a model that honors God not man.

I am beginning to teach the 9 Marks on this coming Sunday in worship and in Sunday School classes. I am working behind the scenes to move the church into some bylaws, covenants, and practices that honor God. I feel that this season will spell the future for this great congregation. We will move on and up or they will reject the hard truths and we will fail.

Please pray for me and this church as I seek to do what you are doing in restoring my church to a healthy model. Only God can do it. He has given me every encouragement that He is at work because He has done so much so far without my help. In fact He did much of this in me without my consent!

Thanks for reading this and I hope my story encourages you to keep your hands to the plow!

1 Tim. 6:6"

Original Location:(9 Marks Ministries)

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Not as Peddlers, but in Triumphal Procession

"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:14-17, The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).

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George Whitefield on the Preacher that God Uses

"O that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty, and the holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace.

They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be fools for Christs sake, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labour and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth's accolades, but to win the Master's approbation when they shall appear before His awesome judgment seat.

They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear filled eyes and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit who will witness signs and wonders following and the transformation of multitudes of lives."

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03 May 2006

Away From the Presence of the Lord

“They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.” 

2 Thess. 1:9-10 (ESV)


I shudder as I ponder the phrase “…away from the presence of the Lord…”  What makes hell so exceedingly horrifying is to be shut out from God’s presence.  God is the source of everything good.  To be shut out of his presence is to be cut off from him who is the source of all good and joy and blessing.  What makes heaven so exceedingly wonderful is being brought near to God in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, by the Spirit.  Just to be forgiven of my sins would be grace beyond comprehension.  When I read that I am received as a son, whereby I can call the supreme and glorious God of heaven and earth, my Abba, I am speechless.  And can it be?  Yes, God Himself declares it.  It is Jesus that makes heaven so magnificent.  He has gone before us, behind the veil – already in the presence of his Father.  In Christ we will be brought into the presence of God and not be consumed.   We have been received into the fellowship and intimate love relationship of the triune God and we will enter into the full and eternal enjoyment of that truth “when he comes on that day.”  Lord, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  (Ps. 16:11b ESV) 


Murray McLellan


Grace Fellowship:  www.idscanada.org/grace

In-Depth Studies Canadawww.idscanada.org



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01 May 2006

Attending Church with the Expectation of Hearing the Word of God

Here are some helpful sermons on how the hearer can better worship on Sunday morning in the hearing of the Word of God.

  • Take Care How You Listen! for Whoever Has, to Him More Shall Be Given

  • Take Care How You Listen Part Two

  • Ten Ways to Prepare for Sunday Morning Preaching

  • Thabiti Anyabwile, an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, on
  • Expositional Listening

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