Monday, December 10, 2007

More Bobs in Heaven



In a tribute to my favorite fake news site (The Holy Observer), and it's return to the web, I present this satirical interview with a whole new kind of evangelist. I wouldn't dream of plagiarizing the fake name of the Holy Observer's newspaper, so I'll call mine the Redeemed Reporter:

Redeemed Reporter (R.R.) staff presents an interview with Larry Spivey, a modern day evangelist with a unique kind of ministry that seems to be taking off like Holy wildfire.

RR: Larry, tell us how your ministry got started. What was the inspiration?

Larry: It came out of a down time in my walk with the Lord. I’d been going to church for years, and I loved Jesus, but I was kind of a closet Christian, you know? Then one Sunday, one of our church’s missionaries did a presentation after going to Africa, where the Lord used him to lead thousands to Christ.

That’s when I started imagining how I’d feel in heaven, when Jesus asked me how many people I had shared the good news with. I knew that at that point in my life, the answer would be zero. The Holy Spirit was really convicting me, so I went to my pastor and asked what I could do.

RR: What did he suggest?

Larry: He told me that tithing was the answer to my problems, so I went to the assistant pastor. The assistant pastor reminded me that God did not expect me to convert the whole world in my own strength – just a few. He asked me if there were any groups I identified with, or clubs I belonged to, but I couldn’t think of anyone. I don’t have any hobbies other than bowling, and the local bowling alley is run by a really nice Mormon guy. I didn’t want to cause a scene there, you know what I mean?

RR: Of course.

Larry: So anyway, I prayed for guidance, and ONE word came to me. I’m not going to say it was an audible voice – it was more of a strong feeling really. Anyway, this voice/feeling (whatever you want to call it) imprinted that ONE word in my head.

RR What was the word?

Larry: “Bobs.”

RR: Bobs? As in the plural form of the common name for Robert?

Larry: Yep, Bobs. Now I only knew one Bob personally, so at first I couldn’t see how he alone could become a mission field. This Bob was a guy I knew from a judo class back in 7th grade, and I hadn’t talked to him since I broke his fibula. Anyway, I swallowed my pride, and called him up.

RR: How did the conversation go?

Larry: It was amazing! I told him that God had sent me on a mission to share the good news with guys named Bob. Well wouldn’t you know it, he was in the middle of a crisis in his life (somebody had broken his fibula again), and boy was he was ready to hear some good news! Somehow, my words came effortlessly, and by the end of the conversation I saw my first Bob converted. In fact, Bob has joined this ministry, which I think is a good thing. I mean, my name is Larry, so when people ask about the “More Bobs In Heaven” ministry, I can introduce them to an actual Bob.

RR: Is that Bob here to talk with us today?

Larry: No. He’s on vacation with his wife, Jennifer.

RR: Of course. Let’s move on then. Larry, is your mission exclusive to just Bobs? Do you deliberately avoid sharing the gospel with folks NOT named Bob?

Larry: Heavens no! I’ll share the gospel with anyone whose name starts with a “B.” Seriously, I’ll evangelize anyone, but it’s amazing how many Bob’s I meet. In my first week of this ministry, I met 17 guys named Bob! That week, I also felt a tug to talk to this homeless guy, whose name was Knuckles. Sure enough, once we got to talking awhile, it turned out his real name was Bob. He hadn’t gone by that name in 30 years!

RR: That does seem miraculous. Now obviously, Bob is a very common name. What about the Steves, Bills, and Janes of the world?

Larry: They’re important too, but that’s not my spiritual gift. You would need to talk with Matt Jones, who has a Steve ministry, Gary, who leads the Bill ministry, and Marlene, who’s considering a Jane mission.

RR: So there are MORE ministries in your church focusing their evangelization efforts on unsaved souls with particular names?

Larry: Of course! Where have you been, brother, under a rock? Get under the One True Rock, man!

RR: Are these other name ministries as successful as yours?

Larry: Well, I need to be careful here because I don’t want to judge. I mean, the Bob ministry is like the mega church of the whole concept right? There are some people who have picked some obscure names to witness to, and I’m not sure if theirs is a serious calling, or if they’re just picking a name that they know they won’t encounter much. For example, Habakkuk is a good solid Biblical name, and I’m not sayin’ anything against the guy who runs the Habakkuk ministry, but outside Israel, how many Habakkuk’s do you run in to these days?

RR: I’m not sure you’d run in to that many in Israel. I guess if that ministry becomes successful, ALL the credit will go to God?

Larry: That’s just it. His glory, and His glory alone. Also, this is not a numbers game, right? We should remember the kind of trouble King David got in to when he did that census thing. If the Holy Spirit is really the power behind your ministry, you can expect results no matter how unlikely.

RR: For example?

Larry: Take a look at Jacob Weinstein’s Ministry to Men named Mohammed. He runs a ministry on Fridays right from his hot dog stand near a mosque. His numbers were really starting to take off before the hospitalization, and when he gets out, I’m sure the whole thing is going to bust wide open. Of course, Jacob was a professional body builder, and he’s got a disarming smile. Not just anyone could run Jake’s ministry, but I think that’s just an example of God using the right tool for the job.

RR: Doesn’t that contradict what you said about allowing the Holy Spirit to use unlikely players?

Larry: Not at all. Well, maybe. Yes, yes it does. O.K., we can’t put God in a box, alright? Sometimes our maker will break out in a way that nobody has even thought of. Take Brother Charlie, for example. For the longest time, he just couldn’t think of a first name to target for a ministry. He prayed and even fasted, but nothing came. Then, God made his carburetor go on the fritz, and the Holy Spirit lead him to a mechanic named Frank White. The two of them got to laughing about their names, and lo and behold, they ended up discussing spiritual issues. Frank’s a Brother in Christ now, but even more importantly, God showed us that this whole method could be used with last names too.

RR: Um, O.K. I’m not sure I’m following…

Larry: Don’t you see? (Clasps hands together and looks heavenward in prayer). Guys with the last name Black?

RR: (sound of crickets)

Larry: Evangelizing to guys with the last name Whi … Oh wait, I totally forgot to mention that Charlie’s last name is Black, didn’t I?

RR: Yes, you left that part out.

Larry: Well, that just goes to show you that Jesus can use a guy without a communication degree. It’s not about the obedience, it’s about the talent. Praise God!

RR: You meant that the other way around, right?

Larry: Meant what the other way around?

RR: Never mind. I think that guy over there might be named Bob.

Larry: Right. I’m on him!

RR: Amen to that!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

International Day to Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem





WHY STAND WITH ISRAEL TODAY?
By Jack Hayford

Israel is a land about which God says – uniquely, prophetically, redemptively, and repeatedly in the Bible – “This is Mine.” God refers to Israel as He does to no other land on Earth. Israel was raised up to be a light to the Gentiles.

The Church at its inception was virtually entirely Jewish, and it remained so until the Gospel began to spread. Ultimately the Gospel spread to Antioch – where the first Gentile congregation began – the base from which the Gospel spread into all the world.

In the book of Romans, chapters 9 through 11, the Apostle Paul deals with the question of the Jews in God’s providence and purpose. These three chapters virtually stand alone, within the whole of the Bible, as an elaboration of the theology of God’s dealing with Jews. The Jews were the “firstfruit”…the “first people” (through Abraham) to understand a covenant God. They then relayed the riches of that truth to the world, and through their agency, the Messiah came into the world. The Word of God calls Jews the “root” and Gentiles the “branches.” We’re reminded that while “because of unbelief, some of them were broken off and you stand by faith,” we are not to become haughty but to fear: “For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.” When the fullness of the Gentiles is completed, “all Israel will be saved.” (v. 11:16-27)

We are living in a sobering moment in history that calls us, as believers in Jesus Christ, to take a stand with Israel. We could be people of the last hours. We are not to be passive in the face of prophecy; we are called to pray with passion, to intercede, and to minister according to the words of the Savior who said it is not our task to speculate when the end will be. It is our responsibility to do Kingdom business until He comes (Luke 19:13).

This is not about politics, this is about the Word of God…but the political ramifications are extremely dramatic. Scripture declares there will come a time when all the nations of the world will turn against Israel. It is so highly conceivable this could happen in our time that it is critical to outline: why we should stand with Israel today.

EIGHT REASONS FOR STANDING WITH ISRAEL
1) Every believer is charged to make the Jews a priority in their value system and to render thanksgiving from their hearts for God’s work via them as a people. Understanding the basis of the attention that we give to the Jews has to do with understanding God’s divine order and things that God said. It involves a people and a land.

• Every believer is charged to make Jews a priority in their value system because God has.
• The Lord selected a people…He began by selecting a man named Abraham. The Lord said that through the seed of Abraham (in relation with his wife, Sarah, giving birth to the promised child, Isaac) all the nations of the Earth will be blessed…every human being having access to the divine blessing of Almighty God.
• In Genesis 12:3, the Lord says in the covenant He makes with Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
• This relates not only to a people (the Jews), but it also relates to a lnad
(Israel).
• God will judge nations and deal with them for their decisions, just as He
does individuals.
• The Lord chose them for purposes: “…who are the Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.” (Romans 9:4)
• The Adoption: God’s divine choice of the seed of Abraham as a people.
• The Glory: the manifest presence of God revealing Himself.
• The Covenants: commitments that God makes:
• The Abrahamic Covenant…God says, “I will give you a people and a land, and through this seed the nations of the Earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 17)
• The Mosaic Covenant…the revelation of the law, given as a teaching means to lead us to Christ: redemption through the blood of the Lamb.
• The New Covenant…In Jeremiah and Ezekiel, God says in words
almost parallel: “For the time will come that I will take My law
and I will make a new covenant with you, and I will put My Spirit
within you.”
• The Greatest Gift: the wonder of the gift of Jesus to mankind. God so
loved that He gave His only begotten Son…He gave Him through the
Jews, and He came as a Jew. Jesus Himself, speaking to the woman of
Samaria, said, “Salvation is of the Jews.”

So Scripture speaks to us very clearly: we’re dealing with the roots of everything that has to do with the revelation of God to humankind. The proof of this is in the very existence of the Jews as a people and the fact that they’ve been recovered as a nation.

Today the struggle is over Jerusalem, over Israel, and over the presence of Jews and their right to a have a land. There are few nations willing to make an abiding commitment to stand by the Jews and Israel, but the Bible says God will honor those who do.

2) Our place in God’s present order inextricably links us with the Jews as a people and thereby the land of Israel according to the Word. When we put our faith in the Redeemer who came through the Jews, we enter into a
line of those who have trusted God according to His revealed grace and redemptive purpose.

• Scripture declares that, spiritually speaking, when you receive the Lord, you become a Jew (Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 3:26-29).
• If you are a believer, you cannot be consistent with the whole of Scripture and take a position that is passive toward the Jews and Israel.

3) God has made unique declarations regarding the land of Israel which have never been rescinded:

Leviticus 25:23 – The land is the Lord’s land, and it is His to assign and dispose of: “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine…”
Deuteronomy 32:43 – “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people…He will provide
atonement for His land and His people.”
2 Chronicles 7:20 – God says if the people violate Me “…I will uproot them from My land which I have given them…”
Psalm 85:1-2 – “Lord, you have been favorable to Your land, You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin.”
Isaiah 8:8 – This land belongs to Father God and it is the land of His Messiah: “…and the stretching out of his wings will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.”
Jeremiah 2:7 – The Lord tells the people why there will come the loss, the
destruction of the city of Jerusalem. “I brought you into a bountiful country…but when you entered, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination.”
Ezekiel 38:16 – God is speaking to people in the end times who rise up against Israel. God is speaking of a confrontation that will take place in His land. “You will come up against My people Israel…I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you…”
Joel 1:6, 2:18, 3:2 – Three times in this book, the land is referred to as belonging to the Lord. “For a nation has come up against My land…” (1:6) “Then the Lord will be zealous for His land…” (2:18) “I will gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.” (3:2)
Hosea 9:3 – This refers to the scattering of Israel: “They shall not dwell in the Lord’s land, but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and shall eat unclean things in Assyria.”
Zechariah 9:16 – “The Lord their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people, for they shall be like the jewels of a crown, lifted like a banner over His land…”

When we talk about Israel, we are dealing with: 1) a piece of property that God has made pronouncements about and 2) God’s people to whom He’s given the land. It is a major issue with the Creator of all things, and it is non-negotiable. Things that God has said, uniquely, about Israel have never been rescinded.

• Not only does the land belong to God, but also God has committed the land to Abraham and his offspring via Isaac forever. (Genesis 17:7-8)
• “With a little wrath I hid My face from you…but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed…” (Isaiah 54:8-10)
• The loss of governance by Israel through sin and dispersion has not altered God’s announced commitment to make it theirs forever. (Read Ezekiel 37:1-28)
4) Israel’s present conflict is neither by their initiative nor perpetuated by
expansionism on their part. The general attitude of the world today regards the Palestinians as the underdog, but Israel is defending the land covenanted to them in 1917 and established by the United Nations Assembly in 1948. The Palestinian goal is not to secure a homeland but to drive Israel out altogether. For the sake of mounting public opinion against Israel, surrounding, well-resourced Arab nations have never offered refuge to the Palestinians. The majority of the world doesn’t know this, and nobody is bothering to tell them because sympathies are so overridden by other forces.

5) To stand with Israel is not to oppose Arab peoples as an entity or to oppose the rights of Arabs living in Israel to a peaceful, politically secure, and prosperous life.
God has no disposition against any human being, certainly not Arabs who are the offspring of Ishmael, the other son of His chosen leader Abraham. Standing for Israel doesn’t require an anti-Arab stance and doesn’t require us to be loveless toward other peoples.

6) The relentless animosities of sectors of the Arab world are not merely political causes but are driven by spiritual powers that will not be satisfied until Israel ceases to exist. The forces opposed to Israel are not simply those of people who don’t like Jews. We are Caught in the stream of spiritual forces greater than humanity, forces that cannot be
overthrown politically or by the power of persuasion. These forces can only be broken by intercessory prayer where principalities and powers are cast down.

7) The same spirit driving these animosities is equally opposed to Christians as to Jews and in time will eventually bring persecution to both.
Just as Scripture states there are two witnesses that will be put to death in Jerusalem at the very end of time (Revelation 11), there have been two witnesses that have stood for God throughout history – the Jews and the Christians. The hostilities and animosities are just as leveled at believers as they are at Israel, because there is a spirit in the world that is against all that is called God and everything about Him.

• God as Creator – to Whom we owe our worship.
• God as Judge – to Whom we owe our accountability.
• God as Redeemer – Who has shown Himself through His Son, Jesus.
• God as the moral Lawgiver of all humanity – to Whom we owe a responsibility in terms of our behavior.

8) A biblical assignment and a divine promise summon our stand in faith, our
intercession with expectancy, and our support with promise. We are called to stand with Israel today because we could be people of the last hour. The Lord has called us to be people with moral and biblical conviction, walking wisely and knowing His Word. He will honor those who make an abiding commitment to stand with the land He’s called uniquely His. (Psalm 122:6).

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO “STAND UP FOR ISRAEL.”
1) Equip yourself with reliable information, avoiding bigotry and disallowing “blind spots.” Recognize the disposition of the popular press. Assess reports cautiously but not with paranoia. Become familiar with the basics of history in the Middle East, and understand the past century.

2) Accept with continuing faithfulness the Bible’s call to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6), and pray that our Nation will govern in the light of Genesis 12:1-3… ”I will bless those who bless you…”

3) Prayerfully consider visiting Israel as a point of practical support.

4) Show friendship toward Jewish friends. Affirm that you, as a believer, stand with Israel as a point of your Bible-based commitment to God.

5) While acknowledging the terrorist habits of radical Muslims, be gracious to others.

Take action because it’s such a pivotally important time. Today, the showdown that we face is so close to being the nations of the earth against Israel and whoever is left that stands with them.

The final issue will be “Who is for Christ and His way and who isn’t?” The Lord has called us to be a people who will touch people and will stand with moral and biblical convictions for critical issues…and this is one.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chip Off the Old Book?



According to this site, the implantable ID chips may cause cancer. This site goes even further to suggest that the makers of these ID chips may have known about these risks all along. Of course, as bad as cancer is, it's no comparison to the eternal damnation that will result from accepting the mark of the beast. I don't believe such current ID chips constitute the infamous "666" mark, but it sure could be paving the way.
Would it be a surprise to believers that the marketers of such technology could act unethically? Would it be a surprise to believers that - IF this IS a precursor to the mark - (and I realize that is a HUGE "if"), God might show a physical indication of danger to foreshadow the spiritual danger?
I heard a sermon today that explained how leprosy (in the old testament) was the physical symbol of sin, mirroring the underlying spiritual sin. The example given was about Naaman, the Syrian King who was told by the prophet to bathe 7 times in a the yucky Jordan to be healed of his leprosy. This required humility for Naaman, who was used to more pristine aqua treatments.
God uses numerous metaphors to illustrate spiritual issues with fleshy examples. Doctors also tell us that pain is our body's way of communicating a danger signal to our brain. The complications of leprosy, in fact, result from the victim being unable to feel pain that would otherwise make the body take preventive action. (Removing a sliver, or blinking when there's sand in your eye).
Just as a pain killer provides comfort without fixing the underlying problem, man's methods of overcoming God's megaphone (pain) without looking at the underlying cause is temporarily comforting, but potentially deadly. Cures for hangovers, methods of reducing the risks of sexually transmitted diseases, and modern society's gradual loosening of moral standards (to liberate ourselves from those "pesky" conscience problems) are all cases of taking the painkiller without asking the doctor what's causing the pain.
Just like leprosy's progressive oblivion to pain, our attempts to ignore God's warnings may succeed, with a deadly final result. Venture down the path of any particular sin, and it won't be long until you become O.K. with a behavior that once bothered you. 100's of addicts have shared with me their stories of moral decline as their addictions progressed. The lucky ones finally see the slippery slope they've been sliding on, and look for a way off. Some just keep hardening their hearts (searing their conscience), to the point that their sin is celebrated as a great thing. Even pain, at that point, is strangely absent. Ever heard the term "feeling no pain?"
What a tragedy when pain no longer serves it's warning. Lord, I pray that you help me to "get it" when you're using pain to communicate.
Today, we read that ID chips may cause cancer. Soon, I strongly suspect the issue will become resolved. Indeed, I have no doubt they'll eventually be marketed as 100% safe, convenient, and just plain smart. Have you heard about the ink that can be used just like an ID microchip? Soon, these ID's - that will be mandatory if you want to buy or sell anything (good for food?) - will even look pretty! Nice to look at, good for the hungry, and just plain smart. Where have I read that before?
Genesis 3:6 states:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

Interesting...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Safe!


I tend to follow the drug and alcohol exploits of musicians more than athletes, but here's a story from a pro baseball player worth reading:

Josh Hamilton's Story

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Exclusive! Accept No Imitations!


I've been the recipient of some emails over the last few months from an individual going through mourning. This has brought her spiritual awareness to the forefront, yet she embraces Christianity as merely one of many "valid faith traditions."
What does Christianity have to say about it's exclusive claim to the truth? Indeed, what did Jesus and His followers say about Him? Here's a bunch of link for you to explore such questions:

1) http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aiia/religionssame.html
2) http://www.casm.org/site.casm/gospel/only_way.html
3) http://www.jimfeeney.org/onlyonewaytoGod.html
4) http://www.newlivingtranslation.com/04exploringchristianity/article3.asp
5) http://www.allaboutgod.com/Jesus-christ.htm
6) http://www.bible.ca/g-Christ-gods-only-son.htm
7) The best one - http://members.aol.com/rbiblech/MiscDoctrine/IsJesusChristTheOnlyWayToGod.htm

Friday, June 01, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Beatless



Do you ever get the feeling that your final accountability will place extra emphasis on whatever act you are engaged in moments before you die? Before I became a believer, I often sensed that my final deeds would count most. Today, I believe that less, since my judgment was already settled long ago at the cross. However, my mind still has me imagine scenarios of my last moments. Weird?
Tomorrow, our worship team is up, and I count it a blessing to get to praise on the day of Pentecost. I happened to stumble upon this article tonight, wherein the author posits his theory that the rapture could happen on Pentecost. It brought to mind an image of being raptured right out of the drum throne, instantly in front of HIS throne. Whew! Lord, no matter where and when You might come for us, may you find us serving and worshiping You. Maranatha.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Harvest Event

Click the pic for larger image:


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Luke 17:11 - 17 (Thankful)



Wow, what a week and a half it's been! Last Tuesday (4/10), my employer called me in and told me that I was laid off, with no further income or medical benefits beyond that day. Obviously, I wasn't happy with the suddenness of the decision, but honestly felt that God had a plan. My first thoughts were the words of Romans 8:28:
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

As a matter of fact, my daily Bible reading the day before had included the passage in Matthew 6:28-34:
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

As I read that passage in my car, I looked up to see some beautiful pink flowers blooming (some already wilting). It really hit me how God's creative love spills over on to flowers, which last such a short time.
My first action was to seek the prayers of everyone I knew, including my church's staff, guys at Bible study, and anyone I knew who believed in prayer (to the God of the Bible).
Three days later (before unemployment insurance could kick in), I had a job offer from a respected agency in the same town I'd been working in. There was no interview - just a flat out offer to come work with them. The renumeration will probably end up looking a tad better than where I'd been.
The only thing that made me hesitate to take the job was another potential position in Canada, where they were willing to fly me up for an interview if my family would seriously consider instant relocation. This was hard to decline, but many things colluded to show me that now is just not the time to drastically alter the family scene. I only mention it because it seems to me that God was telling me something like:
"Tom, not only do I have the power to keep you on your feet with a local job, I can also get you placed anywhere on the planet. My resources and love know no bounds. Keep Me uppermost in your heart, and EVERYTHING else will be taken care of."
I did not hear this voice audibly, but I trust that it was Him, because of the timing of the Matthew passages He'd just had me read.
So here I am, 12 days later, re-employed, and more assured than ever that God is behind everything. One song we often play in worship includes the line (about God): "You give and take away." I'll be playing this with new-found enthusiasm next time we do it.
More than anything, I am thankful to God, and all the people He used to comfort me, and pray for this family. If you're reading this, and you were one of the folks who prayed, I thank you for your faithful prayers. May God help me to share Him even more. Thank you God for the privilege of prayer. May we never forget that prayer is your gift to us, regardless of the outcome.
Of course, for all I know, this new job could result in some kind of earthly disaster. I don't think that, but it's possible. The funny thing is, this experience has not merely taught me to trust that God has my earthly concerns covered, but even more - that His larger will is being done. Lord, thank you for increasing my faith. Please continue to strengthen it through whatever earthly events come my way. Your will be done. Amen

Sunday, April 08, 2007

What Is A Christian?



This is a good summary of what it means to be a Christian. Happy First Fruits (Easter)!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Miracle of Passover



Courtesy of the late Zola Levitt, here is an amazing, two-part teaching on Passover. If you ever wondered if Passover and Christian Communion have similarities, this teaching will settle the issue for you. These online videos require a broadband connection, and realplayer. Seriously, this teaching is excellent. Zola, as usual, exudes warmth, a sense of humour, and God-given wisdom.
Part 1 - http://www.levitt.tv/media/links/ZLV-543.ram
Part 2 - http://www.levitt.tv/media/links/ZLV-544.ram

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sinners In the Hands of An Angry God



My Father (the earthly one) once told me that he appreciated a good fire-and-brimstone sermon, as compared to a watered-down appeal to "be good." Well, in my near 4 years of being saved, I've not heard a more frightening wake up call than Jonathan Edwards' classic: "Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God." Here it is, with updated language (the original was first preached in 1741).
This sermon helps remind me why Hell MUST be eternal. The answer is also why hell must exist at all, and be so horrible. God will be glorified in one of two ways: A) By showing His unfathomable love, or B) By showing His equally devastating, powerful wrath. Would you respect a so-called righteous judge who let known criminals free? Some have wondered why the punishment must be so harsh. My response would be: "Do you believe punishments should fit the crime?" If so, how should one be punished for a lifetime of offending the explicit laws of one's creator? Should that punishment be made more severe if the judge Himself took the offender's punishment, but the offender said "forget you - I'll take the punishment myself?" Should the judge go light on the offender when His offer to transfer the punishment involved brutally killing his Son?
The Bible says that no eye has seen, nor can any man even imagine the wonders God has in store for those who love Him. I recently heard a preacher suggest that God must give us a new body - including better senses - to be able to handle the pleasures of heaven. Without such upgraded pleasure sensors, we would simple explode (or something similar) at God's glory. Conversely, hell will involve the flip side of that - unimaginable horrors. God will make our bodies eternal one way or the other after death. Those in hell will have a body where "the worm dieth not." Thus, those in hell will also have an "upgraded body." That body will be one that has all the capacity for feeling an eternity of excruciating pain, with none of the hope of a moment's reprieve. Either way, we are all destined for an eternity of understanding (in a highly personal way) God's power. The only question is, do you want to understand that power as it manifests in love, or punishment. God's word tells us that he desires that none should suffer His wrath, but He gives us the choice. Have you made your decision yet?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Tisket a Tasket, an Unimportant Casket

From Way of the Master Radio comes this list:

“They found the casket of Jesus”

45 Pithy Comebacks

1. Explain to me why a poor family from Bethlehem would be buried in a middle class grave in Jerusalem.

2. Mary, Jesus and Joseph were the most popular names in Israel at this time. That is why the Jewish archaeologists who first discovered these caskets in 1980 NEVER claimed these belonged to the family of Jesus. The odds are too preposterous.

3. Israeli archaeologist Joel Rosenberg believes this new film is nonsense.

4. So does Jewish archaeologist Amos Kloner.

5. There is no credible evidence that Jesus was ever married. The only possible reference to Jesus being married is in a 14th century manuscript (Acts of Phillip) that nobody deems credible.

6. There is no evidence that Jesus had children.

7. They claim they have proof that Jesus had a baby. We can’t even determine the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby. (Jay Leno)

8. As there is no credible evidence that Jesus was married with children, this discovery does not prove that Jesus was married; it proves that these caskets don’t belong to Jesus. If Jesus was not married to Mary, this whole theory collapses.

9. If Jesus had a wife and children, wouldn’t Jesus have told John to only take care of His mother when He was on the cross?

10. Jesus son of Joseph is hardly legible.

11. Professor Stephen Pfann in Jerusalem believes the name “Jesus” should actually be interpreted “Hanun.”

12. For such an esteemed Rabbi, the family sure did a sloppy job of inscribing His name on the casket.

13. Jesus is never referred to as “The son of Joseph” in early Christian witness. That is the inscription on the casket.

14. If you were going to hide a casket, would you put it in Jerusalem and label it “Jesus”?

15. Why did they only test the DNA of the Jesus and Miriamne casket and not the caskets of the others? Because if they discovered that the DNA didn’t match, their story would crumble.

16. The scientist who did the limited DNA testing said, “Don’t be deceived by the media. This type of DNA testing cannot test every relationship.”

17. There is no DNA baseline available to prove this was the burial box of Jesus.

18. Miriamne e Mara is not legible, they are speculating.

19. Miriamne e Mara is almost certainly interpreted wrong. “Mara” is probably a contraction of Martha and is probably a second name.

20. Miriamne is NOT Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene is not written on the casket.

21. Is the Yose (Joseph) married to Maria? Who knows?

22. Is Jesus married to Miriamne? Who knows?

23. The name Miriamne is not found in any credible text. Not one. The only time that we can find the name Miriamne is in reference to Herod’s wife, Miriamne.

24. Matya (they claim that is Matthew) is found on one of the caskets. If this is Matthew, why would Jesus’ disciple be buried with him?

25. There is no evidence that Jesus had a brother named Matthew.

26. Defenders claim that if Joseph and Mary had more children than what the Bible lists, “The name Matthew is consistent with the type of name that Mary and Joseph might have named one of their children.” That is not a credible argument.

27. They simply left Matthew out of the picture to make the statistical analysis look better.

28. They are doing their statistics backwards. They start with the presupposition that this is Jesus tomb and then try to determine the odds. You can’t do that.

29. If we found a gravesite today with the names John and David, John’s son (the equivalent to Jesus and Joseph) could we conclude which John this was? How many John’s have had a wife named Mary and a child name David in the last two centuries? Then if you knew that David was unmarried and from Los Angeles, but the tomb was found in New York, would you feel confident you had identified the right David?

30. Joseph’s tomb is missing. Why?

31. Jesus’ half-brother Jude is missing. Why?

32. Jesus’ half brother Simon is missing. Why?

33. Jesus sisters may be missing. Why?

34. If Jesus was buried and didn’t rise from the dead, why did Jesus’ half brother, James, die preaching that Jesus rose from the dead?

35. Ditto for Jude.

36. How could the family have kept this a secret from the early church?

37. Wouldn’t the Romans been able to find this casket and end the dispute?

38. Wouldn’t the Jews happily dug up this casket to put an end to this new Jewish cult named Christianity?

39. Trying to resolve whose caskets these are is like trying to figure who put the first dagger in Julius Caesar.

40. While science and CSI techniques can be helpful, we don’t have a time machine to take us back to the first century.

41. Eisegesis is when you form a conclusion and then go find the evidence for your theory. That is what they have done here.

42. There are a thousand scenarios to explain this. To assign ownership to Jesus is simply not reasonable.

43. We have films and eyewitnesses of the JFK assassination and we still can’t figure out who killed him.

44. If this were a civil case, it would be laughed out of court.

45. Wow! You trust this film more than the Bible? Now that’s faith. The Bible is a more reliable source of information than this circus of evidence.

Sources: Dr. Albert Mohler (www.albertmohler.com) Dr. James White (www.aomin.org ), Dennis Ingolfsland (www.reclinercommentaries.com)

Nathan Busenitz (http://faithandpractice.blogspot.com/)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Shalom, eh!



We don't get a whole lot of Canadian news in the big media down here in North Carolina (despite our NHL team winning the cup last year). The stuff I do find is usually on the net. I keep seeing stories about Canada's current PM being a big supporter of Israel. Way to take a stand, Mr. Harper! Kosher maple syrup anyone?
Harper Supports Israel

Friday, January 26, 2007

What Is Sin?



Since getting an mp3 player for Christmas, I've discovered the wonderful world of podcasts. Other than the Bible -in -a -Year, one of my favorites is by John Piper. Since listening to his daily 15- minute messages for the last month, this one takes the cake. Here's the link where you can read it, listen to it on your computer (it's just an mp3 file), or put it on your portable player.
http://www.desiringgod.org/Radio/PreviousBroadcasts/194/
Without giving it away, Piper masterfully summarizes Romans to help us understand that sin is primarily an offense to God (above and beyond how it impacts our human relations). This is a powerful sermon. Please give it a listen.