The two hardest words for a Christian to say.

Anyone who’s been around the church for any length of time will no doubt be able to recall a time when they were hurt by a fellow Christian. It’s not something that we ever expect to happen among those that are called to love even their enemies, but when we’re dealing with fallen human beings it is inevitable.

But what’s more troubling is that there seems to be a vital component in human relationships today that is utterly lost, and sadly, it’s even missing from those relationships within the Body of Christ. What I am speaking of is our inability and unwillingness to say the two hardest words in the human language: “I’m sorry.”

It’s amazing when you think of it. “I’m sorry” struggles violently to be liberated from our mouths while almost anything and everything else we say flows off our tongues without any restraint whatsoever (and is often the impetus behind many of our reasons we need to say sorry).

We are quick to displace blame, justify our actions, or simply ignore the hurt that we’ve caused another, but consider how much progress could be made in our relationships if we would simply bring ourselves to sincerely utter those two humbling words. And oh, how the gospel of Jesus Christ would be beautifully displayed.

The refusal to admit wrong is a burden that both parties have to bear. The wrongdoer for their wrong that has gone unconfessed, and the one wronged who now struggles to remain forgiving toward the wrongdoer and fights vigilantly to prevent animosity and bitterness from taking root in their hearts against the wrongdoer for not only the wrong, but also for the wrongdoer’s refusal to simply say that they’re sorry.

The wrongdoer may be able to sear their conscience enough to move on after the incident as if nothing happened, but the one wronged has to not only forgive the one who wronged them, but will spend a lot of time guarding themselves from the bitterness and resentment that will be ever-creeping at the door of their heart because the one at fault simply will not say, “I’m sorry.”

Ingrid Schlueter wrote a poignant piece on this very subject entitled I’m Sorry. Here’s an excerpt from her blog article (which I highly recommend):

“The words ‘I’m sorry’ when said honestly are the most healing in the human language. It seems sometimes like I spend an inordinate amount of time having to use those words for one reason or another. But I’m not sorry about that. Relations among professing Christians are in a shameful state because so few can bring themselves to say it and mean it. So unresolved issues lie there like rotting corpses, bringing a spiritual stumbling block to the offended, and a hindrance between God and the unrepentant offender.”

Is there someone you have offended or hurt (it does not matter whether they are a fellow believer or not) that you still have not told that you’re sorry or asked forgiveness of? If so, before you do anything else, humble yourself and do what needs to be done.

If you don’t know of anyone you need to ask forgiveness from, then seek the Lord in prayer and ask Him to show you if there is someone that you’ve hurt and didn’t realize it, then go and make it right.

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Sermon of the Week: “The Lordship of Christ” by Dr. Adrian Rogers.

This last week I was blessed to hear a sermon once preached by the late Pastor Adrian Rogers on the lordship of Jesus Christ. I found this sermon to be a very powerful reminder that every aspect of my life must be surrendered to Christ, that He is to be Lord over it all. So often I can get prideful because of what I think I am capable of. Yet, God must constantly remind me there is not one thing in my life that is my own. He consistently humbles me and brings me back to the place where I remember I am merely the clay pot He has created and used for his glory. It is my sincere hope that this sermon serves to remind you of that as well.

Please follow the link provided and click on the “play” button to hear this sermon:

The Lordship of Christ

The God of gods

That men may know that Thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH art the Most High over all the earth! ⎯ Psalm 83:18

In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made… And the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. ⎯ John 1:1-3,14

For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: All things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. ⎯ Colossians 1:16-17

As it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. ⎯ 1 Corinthians 2:9

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said: For we are also His offspring. ⎯ Acts 17:28

Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods? ⎯ Jeremiah 16:20 → (Allah = Satan)

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! ⎯ Isaiah 45:9

Woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed. It would have been good for that man if he had not been born! ⎯ Mark 14:21

And Pilate asked JESUS: Are You the KING of the Jews? JESUS replied: You have said it! ⎯ Mark 15:2

I said therefore unto you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I AM He, you shall die in your sins. ⎯ John 8:24

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called: Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ⎯ Isaiah 9:6

I and My Father are One. ⎯ John 10:30

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the KING of heaven; All whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase. ⎯ Daniel 4:37

But let him that glories, glory in this: that he understands and knows Me, that I AM the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, says the LORD. ⎯ Jeremiah 9:24

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. ⎯ Isaiah 45:7

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that has the God of Jacob (Israel) for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: Which keeps truth forever. ⎯ Psalm 146:3-6

For all those things has Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor (humble) and of a contrite (repentant) spirit, and who trembles at My Word. ⎯ Isaiah 66:2

Remember the former things of old: for I AM God, and there is none else; I AM God, and there is none like Me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying: My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure… Yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. ⎯ Isaiah 46:9-11

Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts… So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: It shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. ⎯ Isaiah 55:6-9,11

For the LORD your God is the GOD of gods, and the LORD of lords ⎯ Deuteronomy 10:17

Wherefore, God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that: JESUS CHRIST is LORD to the glory of God the Father. ⎯ Philippians 2:9-11

And He has on His vesture and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. ⎯ Revelation 19:16

And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said: The LORD, He is the God; The LORD, He is the God! ⎯ 1 Kings 18:39

A quiz for Arminians.

I found the following quiz for Arminians at Chosen by Grace Alone via Bob Hanks’ blog.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eph. 1:11 …[W]ho [God] worketh all things after the counsel of His will.

Q. If God works all things after the counsel of His will, how much does He work to the will of you, me, Satan, etc.?

A. None.
B. 20%
C. 50%
D. 85%

Is. 14:24 Jehovah of hosts hath sworn, saying , Surely, as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.

Q. How much of what He wants to come to pass, doesn’t?

A. All of His thoughts will come to pass
B. Some of His thoughts will not come to pass
C. A few of His thoughts will not come to pass
D. A lot of His thoughts will not come to pass

Rom. 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also foreordained to be conformed to to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many bretheren: and whom He foreordained, them He also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.

Q. How many do you think have been called, justified, or glorified that He did not first foreknow or foreordain?

A. Write in your answer: ___________________

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd; and I know my own, and mine own know me, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Q. Where does this scripture say that Jesus laid down his life for the sheep and the goats

A. It doesn’t
B. It doesn’t, but I just know He meant the goats, too

John 6:65 No man can come unto me, except it be given unto him of the Father.

Q. How many come to Jesus that were not first given to him by the Father?

A. 0
B. 5,000
C. 5,000,000
D. 10,000,000

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me

Q. How many that the Father gave Him will not come to Him?

A. Two
B. A couple of thousand
C. A couple of million
D. Trick question, it says they will all come unto him

John 10:28 I [Jesus] give unto them the (true followers, or ‘sheep’) eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Q. How many sheep do you think have been snatched from either God’s or Jesus’ hands?

A. None
B. 50,000
C. 500,000
D. 1,000,000

Rev. 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Rev. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Q. Considering this, and other related scripture, God having to blot out a name from the book of life would mean:

A. God makes mistakes.
B. Some have been snatched from Jesus’ hands?
C. God didn’t know that some of His sheep were really goats.
D. None of the above.

Q. Could a person whose name was written in the book of life from the foundation of the world not have become a Christian (or have saving faith in God if born before Jesus)?

A. No
B. Yes
C. This confuses me, but I’m going to believe the Bible.
D. This confuses me, and I’m going to pretend this isn’t in the Bible (be honest).

Matt. 13 10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Q. Jesus himself declared that one of the reasons why He spoke in parables was that the truth might be concealed from whom it was not intended. Is this fair?

A. No.
B. Yes.
C. Who are we to question God?
D. I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that verse.

Rom. 8:28 To them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to His purpose.

Q. How many things do not work for the good of those who love God?

A. 10% of all things
B. 40% of all things
C. 85% of all things
D. Trick question, the Bible says all things work for the good of those who love Him

Mark 14:30 And Jesus said unto him (Peter), Verily I say unto thee, that thou, today, even this night before the cock crow twice shall deny me thrice.

Questions:

A. Could Peter not have denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed twice?
Answer here: ____________________________
B. Did Jesus make Peter deny him, or did Peter do it of his own free will?
Answer here: ____________________________

Exodus 4:11 [God Himself asks the rhetorical question] Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him his sight or makes him blind? Is it not I the Lord?

Q. Is this fair?

A. Yes.
B. No.
C. Who are we to question God?
D. I’m going to pretend this isn’t in the Bible.

When it comes to sharing the gospel, is there ever a time to be silent?

I wanted to share with the readers of DefCon an article by Bobby Gonzales that raises a good question:

“One of the marks of a Christian is a desire to share the good news of the life-transforming gospel with others. In the words of the apostles, ‘We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard’ (Acts 4:20). But what if a friend, fellow worker, schoolmate, or family member asks us to desist? Does there come a time when we should refrain from speaking to a person about Jesus and Christianity?”

Continue reading the article here on the It Is Written blog.

Sermon of the Week: “Letter from a Jericho Ditch: God, Neighbor, and the Questions We Ask” by Russell Moore

I am always blessed when I stumble across a sermon that is so practical and beneficial in our daily lives that I am compelled to listen to it multiple times and each time I am freshly encouraged. This one, I’ve listened to 3 times. Russell Moore lays out a convicting challenge through his teaching of the Parable of the Good Samaritan in his sermon from 2010 at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Chapel (Louisville, KY), “Letter From a Jericho Ditch – God, Neighbor, and the Questions We Ask”

I pray you are encouraged and challenged by this sermon as much as I was.

Download the MP3 sermon here

Dr. Moore is the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church, where he ministers weekly at the congregation’s Fegenbush location. Moore is the author of several books, including The Kingdom of Christ, Adopted for Life, and Tempted and Tried.

Find more great teaching from Russell Moore on his blog: Moore to the Point

Mitt Romney, Brigham Young, and the historic racism of Mormonism.

While some professing Christians are busy blurring the lines between Christianity and Mormonism (see here and here for example), at least the secular media isn’t being hoodwinked by Mormonism’s slick PR campaign.

Case in point: The following video that aired on MSNBC. I do not know who Lawrence O’Donnell is, but hats off to him for his courage to peel back the facade of Mormonism on national television.

And in the event that the inevitable Mormon apologist comes along and attempts to obfuscate Mormonism’s long history of racism with that was just Brigham Young’s opinion, or the LDS church never taught that, or this was an isolated remark taken out of context, or the myriad of other lies used to hide Mormonism’s history, I simply direct your attention to this post where many more racist quotes from Mormon leaders can be read.

Mormonism isn’t Christianity, even if the president of Fuller Theological Seminary says otherwise.

Richard J. Mouw wrote an astounding article for CNN in which he used the subject of presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an attempt to legitimize Mormonism.

Mouw, the president of Fuller Theological Seminary who claims to “know cults” and has “studied them and taught about them for a long time,” for some reason seems utterly incapable of spotting one right in front of him.

God gave us a means by which to identify a false prophet, false teacher, or cult. Through the pen of Paul He told us in Galatians 1:6-9 to watch out for anyone (even an angel from Heaven) that preaches “another gospel.” If anyone (which includes religious organizations) preaches “another gospel,” they are anathema! Mr. Mouw, however, is actively directing us away from Scripture and toward human reasoning by advancing his own means of how to identify those that are accursed. From Mouw’s article:

[A cult’s] adherents are taught to think that they are the only ones who benefit from divine approval. They don’t like to engage in serious, respectful give-and-take dialogue with people with whom they disagree. Nor do they promote the kind of scholarship that works alongside others in pursuing the truth. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for instance, haven’t established a university. They don’t sponsor a law school or offer graduate-level courses in world religions. The same goes for Christian Science. If you want to call those groups cults I will not argue with you. But Brigham Young University is a world-class educational institution, with professors who’ve earned doctorates from some of the best universities in the world. Several of the top leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have PhDs from Ivy League schools.”

You read that right (I actually had to read it twice). The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian Science are cults because they have not established a university, sponsored a law school, or offered graduate-level courses in world religions, but Mormonism is not a cult because they founded Brigham Young University and several of their top leaders have earned degrees from Ivy League schools.

Is the Watchtower organization taking notes?

So, according to Mr. Mouw, is there anything else that differentiates a cult from biblical Christianity besides whether or not they’ve established colleges? How about the person and work of Christ?

Nope.

“Cults do not engage in . . .  self-examining conversations. If they do, they do not remain cults.”

Really?

Well, what about the presence of a works righteousness theology being the hallmark of a cult? Surely that is something Mr. Mouw would recognize as error, right?

“These [Mormon] folks talk admiringly of the evangelical Billy Graham and the Catholic Mother Teresa, and they enjoy reading the evangelical C.S. Lewis and Father Henri Nouwen, a Catholic. That is not the kind of thing you run into in anti-Christian cults.”

So, an apostate organization only needs to pay lip service to Graham, Lewis, Teresa, and Nouwen to no longer bear the status of a cult?

Mormons have been very successful at disguising their true beliefs by adopting Christian terminology with radically different definitions (it has obviously worked to pull the wool over Mouw’s eyes), but now they’re taking the deception a step further. By appealing to two prominent Protestant icons (both with arguably suspect theology) and two Romanist icons, they have now been able to convince Mouw that they are no longer a cult and that their false gospel is somehow no longer a threat to a man’s soul. (Whatever happened to discernment?) 

Continue reading

Sermon of the Week: “The Bible’s View on Missions – Part 9 (Conclusion)” by Akash Sant Singh

We are pleased to offer the conclusion of this nine part series of messages on biblical missions from Pastor Akash Sant Singh, pastor of Community Bible Church in Reno, Nevada. As a missionary to West Africa, this sermon has spoken to my heart and it will be a blessing to you as well.

It is important to remember that every true believer is actually called to be on a mission for the Most High Sovereign Creator of heaven and earth. May Christ be exalted through the proclamation of His word and to each listening ear.

Church description – “The Bible’s view on missions – part 9 – Conclusion – a Sunday school message by Pastor Akash.”

The Bible’s View of Missions – Part 9

In a nutshell.

A good read from the blog A Nut’s Notes:

Got up this morning.
Watched the morning news.
Read my favorite blogs.
Listened to songs.
Checked my email.

In a nutshell this is what I read and heard….

Celebrating 16 years of life,
university bomb scares, city budgets in crisis,
failure to launch missile,
inconceivableness of God,
political verbal clean-up, journaling, abuse survival,
fire drill notice, relay for life tonight, raising money at NPR,
new student, shopping carts and life,
life jackets for the spiritually needy, crisis web site listings,
pets and hairless rats, foster pets, donkeys in need,
hunger, football coach in trouble, racism, shootings, hate
the love of God, living life after Easter, debt,
pictures from vacation, train trip with sons,
science and God, adults who cut, majestic mountains, art,
and loneliness.

In a nutshell……what I need now………………”Be still and know that I AM GOD.”

Book Review: “Life in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal” by Sarah J. Richardson

 lifegreynunneryWhen one gets a glimpse into the evils of Romanism perpetuated in the name of Jesus throughout history, words are hard to find to express the tempest of emotions roiling within.  Here, the account of Sarah J. Richardson and her years spent in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal are no exception.  Incredulity, shock, grief, loathing and more will flood your heart as you read the incredible account of her years spent imprisoned in this whitewashed sepulcher, which indeed appeared outwardly beautiful, but inwardly was full of all manner of dead men’s bones and uncleanness.

The book starts by providing a little background on Sarah’s earliest years and how her partially intoxicated father, in an act he thought for her best interests, gave his daughter away to the nunnery.  Sarah recalls this painful time of parting from her father by writing:

I am sure my father did not realize what he was doing. Had he waited for a little reflection, he would never have consented to such an arrangement, and my fate would have been quite different. But as it was, he immediately sent for the priest, and gave me to him, to be provided for, as his own child, until I was of age. I was then to be allowed to go out into the world if I chose. To this, Priest Dow consented. … Though I was at that time but six years old, I remember perfectly, all that passed upon that memorable occasion. I did not then comprehend the full meaning of what was said, but I understood enough to fill my heart with sorrow and apprehension.

But reflect on what he was doing was not to be for Sarah’s father, for his mind was made up and for his rashness he would never again see his daughter.  And so Sarah was torn away from her family and the world at large and carried away unto the world of the convent from which the eyes of most are prevented from venturing too deep into its hidden recesses.

From here Sarah begins the recollection of her life and the strict discipline and monastic life she was subjected to.  Something for which Roman Catholics are well known for where self-denial and beating of the body are held in high esteem.  As far as discipline is concerned, the nunnery was marked by it where the slightest infringement of the law of the land could yield the harshest of penalties.  One such law was that the children were not to speak, nay not even to groan or turn on their sides at night lest they cause the least bit of disturbance to the “holy” silence so cherished in convents.

This “holy” silence was to be observed throughout the convent where the nuns had to walk on their tip toes, and upon opening and closing a door had to do so with the utmost of care so as to not disturb the “peace.”  A rule which Sarah found herself mistakenly breaking when one morning in haste, she closed the door much to quickly where “it came together with a loud crash.”  We pick up her story where she writes about what happened next.

On entering the room, I found the Superior waiting for me; in her hand she held a stick about a foot long, to the end of which was attached nine leather strings, some twelve or fifteen inches long, and about the size of a man’s little finger. She bade me come to her, in a voice so cold and stern it sent a thrill of terror through my frame, and I trembled with the apprehension of some impending evil. I had no idea that she was about to punish me, for I was not aware that I had done anything to deserve it; but her looks frightened me, and I feared,–I know not what. She took hold of my arm, and without saying a word, gave me ten or twelve strokes over the head and shoulders with this miniature cat-o’-nine-tails. … But when I began to cry, and beg to go to my father, she sternly bade me stop crying at once, for I could not go to my father. I must stay there, she said, and learn to remember all her commands and obey then. She then taught me the following verse:

   I am a little nun,
The sisters I will mind;
When I am pretty and learn,
Then they will use me kind.
I must not be so noisy
When I go about the house,
I’ll close the doors so softly
They’ll think I am a mouse.

And so began the life of Sarah in the convent.  A life which would be filled with torments and griefs that far surpassed her beating for closing the door too loudly.  Beatings not for her alone though but for all within its walls who dared to violate the orders of the Superior and priests, not matter how inane or petty they were.

More can be said but the reader of this post is encouraged to take the time and read this book for themselves.  In posting this I know many will outright dismiss Sarah’s account as the ravings of a lunatic or the ramblings of yet another anti-Catholic conspirator. To this charge the reader would be well advised to study the history of Rome before making such a hasty verdict.  For we only need to look back a few years to recall the horrors and abject wickedness of Romanism brought into the light as the “sex scandal” became headline news.  Horrors that if protested against before this story broke, would have met with the same denial, incredulity and ridicule.

Or, one should peer back a little into history at the time of the inquisitions to find that men were of such hardened hearts that they could inflict the most horrible of terrors upon those who would not submit to the Papacy.  All of which that Rome would assiduously deny until there was so much proof she could do nothing but slink back into her corner.

Joel Osteen and (Mormon) Mitt Romney believe in the same Jesus?

Toward the end of this video Joel Osteen says that he’s heard that Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney “believes in Jesus as his savior just like I do.”

This is inevitable result of having absolutely no doctrinal foundation other than “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”

When you place so little value on understanding doctrine (the very thing that defines who Jesus is) and instead spend so much time trying to live your best life now and becoming a better you, the line between truth and error become so blurred that black and white becomes gray, and countless souls perish because of it.

A True Roman Catholic Miracle!

I ran across this poem while reading about the difference between the biblical gospel and the false gospel of the cult of Rome, revealing a bonafide miracle! Don’t discount miracles within the Roman cult until you read this, taken from a pamphlet written by Richard Bennett. You can read more from this kind gentleman here: http://www.bereanbeacon.org/

Hey you, worship leader guy, remember that you are not a rock star.

I wanted to pass on a good article entitled “You Are Not a Rock Star, and Other Nuggets for Worship Leaders” written by Clint Archer:

I use “worship leader” in the vernacular sense of the guy who leads the music. Of course, musical worship is only a smidgen of the worship that happens on Sunday. It’s one candle arrayed alongside the worship of preaching, fellowship, serving, giving, and parking far away so that the elderly can park closer.

But when people talk about liking “the worship” they generally mean “the band.” One congregant who should avoid this is the worship leader. Here are four tips for the leader of a worship band…

Continue reading here.