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Showing posts from March, 2010

Secured by Christ

My goal during this week leading up to Easter is to post a gospel-centered, cross-focused post everyday. This one comes from my daily e-mail feed from the Of First Importance blog(www.firstimportance.org).

All Good Things Secured by Christ on the Cross

“Everything that we know and appreciate and praise God for in all Christian experience both in this life and in the life to come springs from this bloody cross.

Do we have the gift of the Spirit? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we enjoy the fellowship of saints? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Does he give us comfort in life and death? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Does he watch over us faithfully, providentially, graciously, and covenantally? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we have hope of a heaven to come? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we anticipate resurrection bodies on the last day? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Is there a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we now enjoy ne…
I shared this once before, and it's worth repeating. This is a praise from Day 4 of 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers (p 48-49). This time I've added the Scriptures and references at the end.

I love you, Father, because You first loved me and sent Your Son to atone for my sins. And I stand amazed that Jesus, who by nature had always been God, did not cling to His rights as Your equal...that He laid aside all His privileges, to be born as a human being...that He totally humbled Himself, submitting to the death of a common criminal, enduring infinite humiliation and pain...that on the cross You laid on Him the compressed weight of all my sin and guilt and shame, of all my griefs and sorrows, and He became sin for me, dying the death I deserved.

And how much I praise You that it was impossible for death to hold Him in its power.....that You raised Him from the dead to be my Savior, to make me righteous in Your sight...that You highly exalted Him, giving Him a position infinitely supe…

My Jesus, Fair

At church, during the month of March, we've been singing the hymn My Jesus, Fair (by Chris Anderson and Greg Habegger). I think the gospel message in this song is incredible and worthy of being shared. I would encourage you to reflect on the words this week.

My Jesus fair was pierced by thorns
By thorns from the fall
Thus He who gave the curse was torn
To end the curse for all

My Jesus meek was scorned by men
By men in blasphemy
"Father forgive their senseless sin!"
He prayed for them, for me

My Jesus kind was torn by nails
By nails of cruel men
And to His cross as grace prevailed
God pinned my wretched sin

My Jesus pure was crushed by God
In judgment just
The Father grieved yet turned his rod
On Christ made sin for us

My Jesus strong shall come to reign
To reign in majesty
The Lamb arose and death is slain
Lord, come in victory

Chorus

O love divine, O matchless grace
That God should die for men!
With joyful grief I lift my praise
Abhorring all my sin
Adoring only Him


Note: I'm struck every t…

This Week

This week I will be breaking from my usual blog post schedule. With Good Friday and Easter included in this week, I will be focusing on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in my personal time and study. I will aim to make that my focus on my blog as well.

Evangelism Video 03/27/10

Today I'd like to share with you a video of Ray Comfort sharing the gospel with a man named Brannon. First, Ray used the the 10 commandments to show Brannon sin in his life, then he shared the gospel. Brannon appears to be a very thoughtful man, considering the information presented the entire way through the conversation. It's an interesting encounter and certainly worth watching.


Frightening Friday 03/26/10

This week I spent my time making up packets to give out at the mall tonight and while running errands during the next week. I wanted to be sure that people heard the gospel message (the reason we celebrate Easter) during this season. Many people in America have no clue that Easter is about Jesus' death and resurrection. They don't know the "good news" of the gospel.

Each clear plastic bag included: A gospel tract, a bookmark (I made bookmarks that said: "The Easter season is the perfect time to read the Gospel of John in the Bible, fourth book in the New Testament"--weirdly practical I know, but decorative as well), a card pointing them to my blog (for follow up or other resources), and two pieces of candy (to eat).

This idea came to me a little late in the week, so I had only 29 packs prepared for tonight. I handed them out at the mall in about 30 minutes. I said, "Happy Easter" as I handed out the packs. Only one person turned me down (and very po…

Philippians 2:1-11

With Resurrection Sunday (Easter season) approaching, I've been reflecting on Bible passages that contain the gospel message. This passage in Philippians is one of my favorites. I also look to this passage as an example of how to apply the gospel to my life. When I am struggling with humility, I look to Christ's ultimate example of humility ("even death on a cross").

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking t…

Resource Wednesday 03/24/10

Today I would like to share with you the sermon our pastor preached last Sunday in the morning worship service. He has been preaching through the book of Ephesians.

This resource Wednesday, I would recommend that you:

1. Read Ephesians chapter 2.
2. Listen to the sermon from Bible Baptist, Sunday March 21. Click here to listen.
3. Reflect on and answer the questions that were provided in our bulletin that day. -----------------------Questions to Help You "Remember". What's Your Story?What specific sins characterized you prior to your conversion?Do you remember when the gospel began to draw you consciously to the Father? At what point did you become aware, convicted, and repentant of your sins?As best you can recall, when did you experience salvation by grace through faith?As you look over your shoulder and remember who you were before Christ and who you are in Christ, are there evidences of God's workmanship in your life that are not simply moral tweaks but proofs of God…

Presumption

I recently read the book Gospel-Powered Parenting by William Farley. I have mentioned several times that I really enjoyed this book. I recommend it. Several sections in this book are worth quoting. Today I'd like to share with you one of those sections that stood out to me. It pertains to presuming that your child understands the gospel because they grew up in a "Christian" home. I was particularly struck by the comment about legalism at the end of the second paragraph quoted here.

"Finally they [parents] never presume that their children understand the gospel. We noted in chapter 1 that parents do this at their peril. A young person started attending our church. He was from a Christian home. He had attended an evangelical church every Sunday for twenty years. Yet in a membership interview, when we asked him to articulate the gospel, he said, "It is the Ten commandments."

When I explained this to his parents, they were astounded. They had presumed that he un…

Cookie Baking Night 03/22/10

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night and it was just Aunt Katrina and Emily (Meghan had a "ton" of homework to do and Carissa was sick this evening so Ethan and Carissa weren't able to join us). In honor of the first day of spring (last Saturday), we made spring bird nests. Here's the recipe: Melt in microwave: 1 cup chocolate chips 1 cup butterscotch chips 1/2 cup peanut butter Stir until smooth Stir in: 12 ounce bag of chow mein noodles Stir until completely coated with chocolate mixture Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper spread on a cookie sheet. Decorate with colored candy eggs (we used malted milk ball eggs). Regrigerate until set. Serve. Enjoy!
Today I'd like to share with you another video from the Living Waters University series. This is Ray Comfort witnessing to a man named Mario who believes God is in everything. I've run into this point of view several times while sharing the gospel with others (or in general conversations with family members or coworkers). It's a pretty popular theory in the secular world today, so it's worth checking out.


Frightening Friday 03/19/10

Spring has not quite arrived in Minnesota. I was hoping to get out to the skate park this evening but, alas, it is still a bit chilly. People aren't out and about just yet.

Instead, I made a quick trip to the mall and handed out some gospel tracts as well as handing out gospel tracts on my errand runs on the way home from the mall. I challenge myself to hand out gospel tracts whenever I'm out in the community. I find the "curved illusion tracts" and the "million dollar bill" tract make this a little easier (you can find them at www.livingwaters.com). They also provide a conversation opening. After I've had a conversation I leave the "Why Christianity?" tract or the tract that I've written myself "If I Knew Then What I Know Now" as a followup.

If you're not using gospel tracts now, I encourage you to purchase some or write your own and start by handing them out while out in the community running errands.

Here's a couple ways …

Thursday Night Bible Study 03/18/10

Last week I posted a quiz that our pastor gave us at the end of his Thursday night sermon series on the basic Christian doctrines. This week, as promised, the quiz with the answers.

Answer the questions below to test your biblical/theological literacy:

The Bible
■Inerrancy means that the Bible tells the truth.
■List two references that teach the Bible is inspired: 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 12:1

The Trinity
■Provide one verse that teaches “oneness-in-threeness.” Matthew 28:19 "the name" (oneness); "Father, Son, Holy Spirit (threeness)

The Person of Christ
■How many natures did Christ have? two
■How much of each did He have? 100% (fully God, fully man)
■Provide at least one text on the deity of Christ. Luke 24:39 (John 1:14, Acts 2:31)
■Provide at least one text on the humanity of Christ. Matthew 1:23 (Mark 2:7, Luke 4:12)
■Provide a verse that summarizes both. Romans 9:5 "To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all…

Resource Wednesday 03/17/10

I thought this resource Wednesday it would be appropriate to talk about something I do with my older nieces and nephews called "Feed the Starving Teenagers". I pick a book. I read it. They read it. If they make arrangements with me to get together and talk about the book, they receive a monetary gift (an agreed upon amount). So far, I've read two books with my niece, Meghan (14) and two books with my nephew, Joe (17). They are currently both working on the book of Daniel (in the Bible).

Joe finished Daniel and came over this evening to discuss it. Joe has grown up in the Catholic faith. He is currently learning the value of Scripture. He's searching it out for himself. He had an amazing retention of the book of Daniel. He read it several times to try to grasp it. It was a great discussion, which led to many other discussions of biblical topics (Joe lives to debate). I encouraged Joe to continue to search the Scriptures for himself and to be sure that he is trusting in…

Happy St Patrick's Day

On the eve of St. Patrick's Day, I thought I would share a video with you from Paul Latour of The Word Street Journal blog (www.thewordstreetjournal.blogspot.com). Paul and his wife, Kim, are street evangelists. They used the St. Patrick's Day parade in their town as an opportunity to share the gospel. Way to go, Paul and Kim!
This video was encouraging to me, I hope it is encouraging to you as well (and you might just learn a little something about St. Patrick along the way).

John 6:16-21

When evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." They were glad to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
John 6: 16-21

I have read this account in John, of Jesus walking on water, many times in my life. Though (I suspect because of my unregenerate heart for many of those years), until recently I had not noticed the last part of that passage that explained that once Jesus was in the boat, the boat arrived at its destination immediately. Amazing! Two miracles in one short passage.

Evangelism Video 03/13/10

Today I'd like to share with you a video that's a little different from those that I usually choose. This is Ray Comfort using a clip from the ER television show (pretty fascinating clip) to explain the gospel. I think it's worth watching.
Word of caution: If you plan to show this to the kids, I would view it alone first and then make that decision.


Frightening Friday 03/12/10

We've had a lot of rain here the past few days (about 4 days straight), which means the snow is nearly gone (just a few remnants of the very large snowbanks remain). Soon people will be out of their houses and congregating in parks and the like (probably a few weeks to go on that). Until then, I find myself at the local mall on Friday nights seeking to share the gospel with those I meet.

Tonight I walked around the mall passing out gospel tracts. Several times, I passed a well-dressed woman sitting on a bench. She appeared to be waiting there for a particular reason, perhaps waiting for someone. One time, when I passed her, I noticed she was reading the receipt from her items purchased that evening. The next time I passed her I said, "Would you like something to read while you wait?". She said, "Yes." So, I gave her one of the gospel tracts I wrote myself. It's 13 pages long (small pages, large print), and it reads like a story, so I thought it would be appr…

Thursday Night Bible Study 3/11/10

A couple weeks ago, during the Thursday night prayer and Bible study meeting at our church, we finished up a series called: Basic Christian Doctrines. It was a many-lesson series spanning a few months' time. To conclude the series our pastor gave a quiz to test us. It covered the topics which he spent many weeks covering. This week I'm going to share the quiz with you. Test yourself. See how you do.

Next Thursday, I'll share the answers with you along with a link to the first sermon in our latest Thursday night Bible study series entitled, "Your Mind Matters".

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Answer the questions below to test your biblical/theological literacy:

The Bible
■Inerrancy means that the Bible tells the _______________.
■List two references that teach the Bible is inspired:

The Trinity
■Provide one verse that teaches “oneness-in-threeness.”

The Person of Christ
■How many natures did Christ have?
■How much of each did He have?

Resource Wednesday 03/10/10

Last month I told you about my friend Katie's blog (you can find the link under Ladies Blogs at the side of my blog page). Well, one of Katie's brothers, Kyle, started his own blog. It is called Ponderings From the Son of Encouragement (http://www.kylescorner.wordpress.com/). His blog is "dedicated to edifying others" (his words), and I think he's doing a great job. His posts are short, thoughtful, and saturated with Scripture. I would encourage you to have the young men in your life check it out.

The other reason I bring attention to the blogs of Katie and Kyle is to highlight their parents. I have talked with their mom about the blogs, and I know that she is allowing them to do this only if it is used to sharpen and edify others. I admire her (and her husband's) focus and desire to have God glorified in the life of their family. This is also a tangible example of how to glorify God in all that we do while living in a very modern world, so I wanted to share i…
This was forwarded to me by a member of the Voice of the Martyrs, Voice Volunteer Network here in Minnesota. It contains the requests of the persecuted church around the world. Lessons can be learned just from reading the prayer requests, so I decided to share it on the blog today.

"Pray for us"

No matter where The Voice of the Martyrs ministers, the first request of persecuted Christians is always the same: "Pray for us"

Prayer is the most necessary action, the greatest gift, the hardest spiritual labor, as well the simplest cry of a loving heart. The time that you spend in prayer has an eternal ¬impact on the lives of men and women throughout our world. Through prayer our world is changed, closed doors are opened, resistant people are made receptive, leaders are put down and raised up, and the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is extended.

Hebrews 13:3 says, ¬“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as ¬being yourselve…

Cookie Baking Night 3/08/10

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night with the nieces and nephews. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, Emily, and Meghan.

We made peanut butter cookies. Cross-crossing with a fork on top of the cookie is harder than it looks, so we discovered.

Meghan made chocolate bon bons from a kit that grandma Clara had given me around Christmas time. Meghan followed the directions on the box and completed the project by herself (with a little advice from Aunt Katrina here and there). She did a great job.

Tonight we picked up where we had left off with our Josh McDowell curriculum, "Is the Bible Personally From God?" We are on lesson three entitled God protected His message. We talked about the job of a scribe and then practiced the art of copying verses using a worksheet from the lesson.

We also started a project that will help us memorize the books of the Bible. We'll be working on that one over the next couple months.
As usual, a good time was had by all!

Evangelism Video 03/06/10

Today I'm going to share a video with you of Tony Miano sharing the gospel with a young man named Juan. I've shared this one before, but it's definitely a repeater. Juan appears to be a very thoughtful young man, and Tony shares the gospel with conviction and compassion. It's worth watching.

Frightening Friday 03/05/10

With my favorite bench MIA, tonight I decided to hit the "streets" (of the mall). I spent a lot of time in prayer this week for the people I would be talking with on Friday night (and for courage). I also spent time reading about the gospel and listening to sermons about it.

Approaching total strangers to engage in conversation with them (any kind of conversation) is the hardest part for me, so I gave some thought to that as well. There is a popular theory circulating in the culture right now involving the end of the world and the Mayan calendar. The calendar of the Mayan civilization (a technically sophisticated civilization in many ways) ends on December 21, 2012. There is an idea circulating (by Christians, sadly, and non-Christians alike) that the world will end on that day. There have been many such predictions about the end of the world over the years. When I was a teenager, there was an idea circulating in the popular culture that the world would end in 1988. That was …

Blogging Tips

I've been blogging for about 10 months now (since May of last year). I don't think that qualifies me as an expert, but I have gained some knowledge since first starting the blog. So, I will attempt to pass on to you a few tips I've learned so far.
Pick a theme. If you wish to remain consistent with blogging, I think the best way to do that is by picking a theme for your blog. My theme is consistency. I blog about living the Christian life, day to day. I use daily blogging categories (both general and specific) to accomplish this goal. I often schedule my posts. I write the post while I have an idea in my head and then schedule it to be posted later (this is particularly easy to do with some of my daily categories such as Resource Wednesday and the evangelism videos). I aim to have a post appear on the blog six days a week, but I'm not bound by blogging six days of every week (sometimes Monday's entry is posted on Wednesday). I strive to keep it gospel centered. I ma…

Resource Wednesday 03/03/10

This Resource Wednesday, I would like to highlight for you the Voice of the Martyrs website (http://www.persecution.com/). Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) is a ministry that focuses on the persecuted church around the world. If you've spent any time on my blog, you've heard me endorse this ministry many times.


I encourage you to visit the VOM website. Here's a few areas of the website that I appreciate and utilize often:
Voice of the Martyrs magazine. You can sign up to receive a free monthly copy of this magazine. Each issue highlights a different country or area around the world where Christians are being persecuted for their faith. The magazine also highlights tangible ways we could help the persecuted church.
Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand. There is a way to receive a free copy of this book (or have it sent to a friend) via the website. Richard Wurmbrand is the founder of the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. I highly recommend reading this book. I found it impossible …

You Have Only To Be Silent

Right now we're reading through Exodus in our family Bible reading plan. We've just read through the beginning of Exodus where God calls Moses to appeal before Pharaoh for permission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, where they are enslaved to Pharaoh. Pharaoh continually promises to let them go and then goes back on his promises. God sent 10 different plagues to the land of Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to let His people go, the last being death to all of the first born males in the land of Egypt. Finally, the Israelites were released from Egypt. The first big obstacle they encountered was how to get across the Red Sea with Pharaoh in hot pursuit. And these are the words that came out of their mouths (spoken to Moses):

"Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would hav…

Seeking Instruction

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7.

I am currently studying the book of Proverbs for our monthly women's Bible study at church. The theme touched on in the above-listed verse is a theme scattered throughout the book of Proverbs. Fools despise wisdom and instruction, the wise incline their heart to understanding.

As I read through the book of Proverbs, I am reminded of my own conversion to Christianity. After God regenerated me, the first fruit of repentance that I can recall being evident in my life was the desire for correction. I found myself wanting to know what was right and to be corrected if my thinking was wrong. This characteristic was nonexistent in my life before God regenerated me. I hated to be corrected. I would take correction, reluctantly, on the outside, but my heart and mind echoed with thoughts such as, "What do you know? Who are you to tell me? Shut up, you don't know me." (vile but …