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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Phenomenal Gospel Presentation

This is wonderful and wondrous...consider sharing on your facebook page, blog, whatever...:

Hallow(een)-defined Christian buzzwords

Pretty funny...and reasonably accurate..."definitions" from Russell Moore:

The words “evangelical” and “fundamentalist” have very little meaning. For some, a “fundamentalist” is anyone who believes in miracles. For others, it necessitates a King James only Bible or a pre-trib Rapture or even a certain sort of public posture. At an American Baptist Churches General Assembly, I’d be considered a hardcore fundamentalist. At a KJV-only independent Baptist Bible camp, I probably wouldn’t be counted.
And “evangelical” includes, for some people, everyone from J.I. Packer to T.D. Jakes to Brian McLaren. That can get confusing, especially to those on the outside of our circles.

A few years ago, a friend of mine, the inimitable John Mark Reynolds, attempted to explain, simply, some of the differences for our friends on the outside of conservative Protestantism. Picking up on the old definition, “An evangelical is a fundamentalist who likes Billy Graham,” Reynolds said, “An evangelical is a fundamentalist who watches The Office.”

I tried my hand at explaining the spectrum, with tongue in cheek, using Halloween as a Rorschach test. I posted it over at the First Things group blog. Here goes.

An evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for Halloween.

A conservative evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for the church’s “Fall Festival.”

A confessional evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as Zwingli and Bucer for “Reformation Day.”

A revivalist evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as demons and angels for the church’s Judgment House community evangelism outreach.

An Emerging Church evangelical is a fundamentalist who has no kids, but who dresses up for Halloween anyway.

A fundamentalist is a fundamentalist whose kids hand out gospel tracts to all those mentioned above.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why Pray?

Driving back from prison this afternoon spent a bit of time praying for the responders/residents etc on the East Coast as Sandy impacts.

Recalled an after-Bible-study conversation with an inmate who asked, "Why pray if God is sovereign?"

I told him I have that same question...and have never been fully satisfied with the "answers" I've heard or read or come up with myself over the years.

"So do you still pray?" he asked.

"Yup." I responded.


And I gave him the only answer I have - "Because the Word of God commands me to, and because Jesus prayed."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Be There

Wise words from Warren Wiersbe...

"Never underestimate the importance of simply being physically present in the place God wants you. You may not be asked to perform some dramatic ministry, but simply being there is ministry."


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

God of...

I've no idea who started the concept of writing a Bible verse below one's signature, but that habit has been mine for a long time.

For several years I've used Romans 15.13 as part of my signature.

In the ESV it reads, "May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."

"Hope" is such a cherished commodity! I love its appearance in the old hymn, "My hope is built in nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness."

My acronym for hope is:

People and

God is in charge. God is in control. God will fulfill His purposes.

Confidence in God's sovereignty produces "joy" and "peace" matter what.

And I don't want a little hope...or even a generous portion of hope...I want to "abound" in hope...

Thus I need to be continually (re)filled with Spirit of God...because I leak.

And leakage results in a lessening of hope...which can lead to despair.

Praying for myself...for you..."May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What is the Gospel?

This is good (from Creature of the Word):

"In its simplest form, the gospel is God's reconciling work in Christ - that through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, God is making all things new both personally for those who repent and believe, and cosmically as He redeems culture and creation from its subjection to futility."

Friday, October 5, 2012

What Is Ministry?

I just started rereading, for perhaps the 5th or 6th time, Warren Wiersbe's On Being A Servant of God.

Though a confirmed bookaholic, there are few books I reread. Not sure if that is good or bad...

But this book remains a source of encouragement, gentle rebuke, and guidance. I recommend it highly.

I also love and thus share his definition of "ministry":

"Ministry takes place
divine resources
human needs
loving channels
to the 
glory of God."

May today be a day that we are loving channels who God uses to supply divine resources to meet human needs in such a way that He, and only He, receives glory.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Count Your Blessings!

Remember that old tune, “Count Your Blessings, Name Them One by One”?

Kind of cheesy, but cheese is good in the right place.

I am not too spiritual to admit I sometimes get in the dumps. Even if I don’t know it my darling wife is willing to point it out! (One of so-many reasons that she is #2 on the all time blessing list!)

But yesterday as I walked out of a prison after leading a weekly “Courageous” Bible study I reflected on a lot of the things the Lord has allowed me to be involved in.

I did not exhaust the list…but these were some of the things I marveled at…

  • The opportunity to be in vocational ministry for over three decades…and all of that time subsisting on missionary support!
  • The chance to go to a now-defunct Bible school that gave me a great education and incredible hands-on opportunities
  • The privilege and blessing of meeting, falling in love with, and marrying Jane almost thirty years ago
  • The honor of being a dad…to Josiah and Joel the old-fashioned way; and to Janelle and Jacob via adoption
  • The privilege and responsibility of preaching thousands of times in all kinds of venues…churches, camps, seminars, retreats, jails, prisons, etc.
  • One-on-one prayer times and conversations with teens and adults
  • Electronic communication on a daily basis responding to questions, prayer requests, and more from teens and adults from all over the world
  • Watching the light go on as Spirit of God does His thing

Of course the biggest blessing is that the Lord called me to Himself before the creation of the world, and brought me to conviction, repentance, and trust in a jail cell in Texas in January of 1974.

Every situation, every “crisis,” every moment gives me two choices…whine or worship.

I choose to worship!