Saturday, May 3, 2014

What kind of people ought we to be?

In the western world, there has been an increase in immorality.  Across America and the United Kingdom, there is an ever-increasing acceptance of homosexual marriages, abortions, and senseless violence. In the midst of all of this, the church of Christ has been charged with being intolerant, boring, and irrelevant. How should pastors and followers of Christ respond to these accusations and become a beacon to a lost and dying world? To answer these questions, we must take a look at God’s Word and ask ourselves; what kind of people are we ought to be.
     Why does this matter? If you were to talk to people that profess the name of Christ, you will see that many do not act any differently from those that are not professing Christians.  This is why those seeking Christianity find it is no different from the world. Brennan Manning writes, The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” If we ever desire to see the Gospel advance in our neighborhoods, schools, governments, and communities, we need to change and it starts with us.
     One of the first characteristics of being a light to a lost world is putting sin to death. Colossians 3 says this;Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry… But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.”  Mortification of sin ought to be the duty of every person who professes the name of Christ.  The Apostle John writes, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”(1 John 1:7-10) This is very important because when we go about our normal business in the world, people are watching. We need to be genuine in our walk and not just talking the talk.
      A second characteristic of a vibrant, spirit-filled Christian is one who is gracious to those around him. Many times, the professing Christian shuns the person struggling with same-sex attraction, not reaching out to the one struggling with deep depression, or gossips about the girl who got pregnant out-of-wedlock. We grumble, complain, and slander those shepherding over us and never give a second thought about what the typical pastor really goes through. What we ought to be is a refuge for the weary and burden.  Colossians 3 says, “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.” What a difference it would make if Christians heed those words. When people love and gracious towards one another, the world will take notice.
    The third characteristic of a Christian is one who is thankful. Because Christ died for us, we should be the most grateful people around.  Lets say you were thrown into prison for a felony and sentenced to life unless you pay a million dollars.  One day, the prison guards open the jail doors and escorted out of the prison facilities saying, “you are free. Someone came and paid the million dollars on your behalf.” How would you feel towards that person? That is what Jesus did at the Cross. He paid a penalty you cannot pay on your own. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” When we have that attitude, we recognize that God is the giver of every good thing and have what you do not deserve. Let us give thanks to God for what we do have and not grumble about what we do not have.
    In closing, we ought to be a people that are genuine, gracious, and grateful. You were bought with great price you cannot pay. Live the way Jesus lived.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

History of Revival 3

      For about a thousand years, the church gradually fell into darkness and began practicing stuff that is not in the Bible. Rome has fallen, causing a rise in illiteracy and education declined.  The entire Bible was translated into latin and “tradition” entered the church without life or meaning attached to it. Even better, those that dare question or leave the church were condemned a heretic and put to death. The church controlled every aspect of human life. J. H. Merle D'Aubigne Wrote, “The semblance of an identical and exterior organization was gradually substituted for that interior and spiritual communion, which is the essence of the religion of God. Men forsook the precious perfume of faith, and bowed down before the empty vessel that had contained it. They sought other bonds of union, for faith in the heart no longer connected the members of the Church; and they were united by means of bishops, archbishops, popes, mitres, canons, and ceremonies.”2 The church would stamp out “heretics” through what is called the inquisition. What they would do is kidnapped suspected people spreading ideas that are contrary to what the church believes and teaches, force a confession out of people, and kill them if they refuse to repent. Many have been murdered through the inquisition.

        Also during this time period were the crusades (A very sad event that has marred the reputation of Christianity and the Gospel). Beside all the bad things that occurred during this event, this encouraged travel and the embracing of different cultures. What all this encouraged was the renaissance. The mantra of the renaissance was ad fontes, which means “going back to the fountain” in Latin. The Europeans went back and read the writings of the Greeks, Romans, and other ancient civilizations. During the crusades, many of the warriors were bringing back with them the writings of people such as Aristotle and Plato (The Muslim House of Wisdom had the classic writings when Europe was in the dark ages) and began to read them for themselves. For the Reformers, they went back to the original manuscripts of the scriptures. The overarching theme of the Reformation was whether the Bible or the Roman Catholic Church was the ultimate source of authority. Today, this doctrine is called sola scriptura.  Scripture alone was(and is) the final source of doctrine and practice for the church and the believer.

      After reading through the Bible, the doctrines that the church enjoys today have been brought back into the Christian life. Martin Luther listed five of them which include sola scriptura(scripture alone), sola gratia(Grace alone), sola fide(faith alone), soli deo Gloria(to God alone be glory), and soli Christo(Christ alone).  The churches are now doing services in one’s natural language rather than it being in Latin (Which only the clergy could understand) and each was hearing the Gospel in his own native tongue. Education was reestablished through the work John Calvin and Martin Luther did in establishing schools for children. Over a period of time, Reformed Christianity had an influence on the arts and the Scientific Revolution. Who knew that such a move of God would have such an impact on world history and how we live today?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

History of Revival part 2

      During the 4th century AD, God was at work in the western part of the known world. In 389 A.D., St. Patrick was born in the village of Bonnavem Tabernine(Somewhere in the British Isles, exact location unknown) to wealthy, Christian parents. His grandfather was a pastor and his father was a deacon in the church. When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates (Which was a common thing to have happened to young men) and taken into slavery. During his time as a slave, God worked in his heart and he managed to escape his captors and go back home. One day he recieved a vision from God to go to Ireland to preach the Gospel to a land infested with pagan gods and ideas. The celtics of Ireland were a rowdy crowd who were considered barbarians, fighters, and pagan worshiping people. There was a story where he showed up in the middle of a pagan Druid festival. One of the customs of this festival was that no fires were to be lit whatsoever until the king lights one up in a ceremonial opening. So, Patrick went up on a hill and lit a fire himself, in direct violation of the festival. One of the Druid priests confessed, “Oh, High King, unless the is fire which you see be quenched this same night, it will never the quenched; and the kindler thereof will overcome…all the folk of your realm.”1 That was a true saying. The Gospel was proclaimed throughout Ireland and thousands were being saved. Several churches were started as a result of Patrick, schools were started, and a bunch of monasteries were established. It is believed that he baptized 120,000 Irishmen and started about 300 churches. This is what preserved Christianity during the middle ages.

But wait... There is still more to come! :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

History of Revival part 1

Throughout the past two thousand years, there have been move of God among many men and women, transcending cultural, political, and racial boundaries. Hearts of stone were softened, those considered barbarians and savages were changed for the better, and entire societies were transformed by the power of God. From the time Christ ascended into heaven, God has been on the move to build His kingdom, and the gates of hell cannot prevail over it.

          The first revival after the ascension of Christ has been recorded in Holy Scripture for us to read. In the book of Acts, God pours out his spirit at Pentecost on the followers of Jesus and Peter giving his first sermon, resulting in three thousand getting saved. If that wasn’t enough, the sick were being healed (Acts 3:1-8, Acts 5:12, 5:15-16), the dead were being raised (Acts 9:36-42), and people were added to the body of Christ( Acts 2:37-41, Acts 4:4, Acts 5:14). The Gospel was not only preached in the streets of Jerusalem, but it also went out to many parts of the Roman Empire. After Stephen was stoned to death, there arose a great persecution against the church of Jesus and scattered those the regions of Judea and Samaria(Acts 8:1). Philip began preaching in Samaria(Acts 8:4-8), led an Ethiopian government official to Christ( Acts 8:26-38), and traveled to Azotus where he preached in the towns till he came to Caesarea(Acts 8:40). Paul, who met Jesus on the road to Damascus, preached the Gospel to a lot of the known world. He actually began preaching to those at the Synagogues in Damascus (Acts 9:19-22) to traveling to Cyprus, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Macedonia, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus. He preached the Gospel, started churches, and performed signs and wonders in these cities. The Gospel has been going forth mightily and powerfully and nothing could stop its spread.

       The era of the Roman Empire was a time of intense persecution yet the Gospel went forth. Many Christians suffered the most painful and grueling ways to die and yet embrace it joyfully and with gladness. Because Christians refused to join the variety of mystery cults (Zoaroasterism, Mithraism, and Mysteries of Eleusis being examples) and ultimately refusing to bow to the Emperor of Rome, Christians would be persecuted for that. What happens is that these religions would have festivals that Christian would consider immoral and one would be bowing down to another god other than the one true God. Some people would be hanged by fishing hooks and are therefore skinned alive, some are boiled to death, and some are throw to the lions at gladiator games for entertainment. But guess what, the persecution helped the Gospel advance and the church did expand. A lot of times the soldiers performing the execution of Christians were so affected by how these Christians embraced their martyrdom that they are saved later on. One example would be the story of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste where 40 Christians were left to die in the middle of a frozen lake. They were singing , “40 good martyrs, 40 good soldiers for Christ.” One left to the bath houses for anyone who would recant and it become “39 good martyrs…” The jailer who was watching this was so affected that he joined them and the song went back to “40 good martyrs…” Even persecution can be a tool that God can use to bring the Gospel to the utter most parts of the earth.

To be continued....

Friday, March 16, 2012

wonders of vitamin D

Taking a little break from writing on politics and worldview.

In the day and age that we live in, we are bounded too much indoors. Unlike our ancestors who lived and worked outside(Most on farms and plantations), we live and do our work without much consideration to the outside world. This trend comes with a cost. Without regular exposure to sunlight, your body is lacking an important element; vitamin D. If more people are informed and obtaining this vitamin, there would be less cases of various types of cancer and the general population would be healthier than it is now.

First, what exactly is vitamin D? It is a fat-soluble prohormone that absorbs calcium and phosphorus. Meaning, it is used to build strong and healthy bones. There are five forms of this vitamin; D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5. The important vibrations of these are D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is found in foods such as fish, fortified milk, and eggs. Vitamin D3, the most important form, is obtained from exposure to sunlight. This is in a nutshell the essence of this vitamin.

Secondly, What the deal with vitamin D nowadays? Research has shown that vitamin D does more than build and strengthen your bones. Recent research has shown that it is effective in the fight against cancer, hypertension, and osteoporosis.1 Not only that, it is also a regulatory vitamin. According to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin D contributes to the secretion and regulation of insulin in the pancreas, brain activity, and muscle strength. The study also noted 36 organ tissue also benefits from this vitamin including the stomach, kidneys, bone marrow, lungs, intestines, and skin.2 If anyone is diabetic, the more vitamin D one has, the more he is able to control your condition. Many people diagnosed with diabetes have low levels of vitamin D. According to Australian research, this vitamin can help play a role by increasing insulin levels.3 A study from the Creighton University School of medicine has shown that vitamin D can reduce one’s risk of cancer by 77%. This includes colon cancer and breast cancer.4 This vitamin comes with many wonders and has amazing benefits.

Third, there are practical ways to obtain this vitamin. The best way to obtain it is to go outside and lay in the sun. There are a few misconceptions about this though. First, vitamin D does not go through glass or a window. It gets filtered by the window when light goes through. If you were planning on lying next to your living room window where the sun is shining through, probably not a good idea in regards to obtaining this vitamin. Second, some say that the sun causes skin cancer. It is only spending too much time in the sun when one gets sunburned and has an excess of vitamin D. one only needs to spend 10-20 minutes under the sunlight to get plenty of this vitamin. Other sources of vitamin D include fish oils (example, cod liver oil) and fortified milk. Still, sunlight is the best way to get it. If one lives in climate where it is cloudy most of the time( such as Seattle, WA or Boston, MA), one may need to either find a tanning place or take a good vitamin D3 supplement. Mercola has a vitamin D3 spray that costs only $15.00( I find that the spray is the best when it comes to getting vitamin D when the weather won’t allow one to. Go out and enjoy the sunshine.

In closing, this shows that vitamin D can prevent and treat many diseases and conditions. If more people are aware of the benefits of this vitamin, there would be fewer cases of illness and people may be living longer. Let us get the soccer ball, go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

1. Mayo Clinic.




Thursday, March 1, 2012

Church in need of Reformation

In the year 1517, something amazing has occurred. An Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to a church in Whittenburg, Germany. What this sparked was the Protestant Reformation. It led to erroneous doctrine of the Catholic Church to be exposed and the restoration of Biblical truth. Today, the church of America needs reforming. False theology of the Word of Faith movement, the therapeutic Gospel, and the Emergent church are rampant in churches from sea to shining sea. Another thing that most Christians, including Calvinists, seem to miss is the involvement in reforming the culture. As one can see; there are abortion clinics opened all around, homosexuals are pushing for their “right” to get married, and elements of God and Christianity are gradually being removed from the public square thanks to intimidation from liberal/ atheistic groups. If the church in America is going to be reformed, it needs to get themselves outsides of the walls of the church and involved in reforming and evangelizing society.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Our Need for Spiritual Revival

Look at over the place. What do you see? Unless you have been sheltered for the past decade, what you see is a decay of common sense and standard morality. We see many countries that are unable to pay their national debts, homosexuality is on the rise and being imposed on Americans as a normal lifestyle, and crime is growing in many U.S. cities. What is the problem with our world? The answer is simple but many people have made too complex of answers for it. The problem is that we are sinners and in need of a Savior. Simple, but most people do not get it. We are in desperate need of revival. Because we are called to preach the Gospel, the church has abdicated its responsibility to fulfill this worthy and noble calling.

To start, what is our responsibility as Christians in this world? Matthew 28:18-20 says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Within the past century, we have been disobeying God’s call to go make disciples. The consequences of this is that America has moved away from it’s Christian foundation and going towards something that has no foundation. The church has slipped from orthodox practices to such as preaching from the Koran, ordaining homosexuals, and simply preaching a false Gospel. Our only response to this is to repent from our laziness and selfish desires. If you were to stand before God on how you obeyed God’s call to make disciples, what will God say? John MacArthur writes, “The remedy to our nation’s moral and spiritual woes must begin at the house of God. The process starts with personal repentance. If Christians truly want to see God’s blessing on our society, we ought to be models of genuine contrition and humility rather than merely pointing fingers of blame at the evils of secular society.”1 He’s right. The reason secular Humanism is dominant in society is because we allowed it to. We are the reason that people such as American Atheist’s Madalyn Murray O’Hair, ACLU founder Roger Baldwin, billionaire and communist George Soros have been able remove America from its Christian foundation.

Secondly, what are some ways we can move forward in making disciples and evangelizing? First, we must preach the Gospel to ourselves regularly. This includes reading your Bibles and examining your heart. Next, go out and tell others about the Gospel. Lay down tracts (Which Living Waters Ministries has the best out there) at your school, office, or your local Wal-mart. Others need to hear about the Gospel. Third, teach yourself and others the art of apologetics. It is very important that we have people ready to defend the faith and through those efforts win others to Christ. Some good resources to use include Apologetics for the Glory of God by John Frame, Always Ready by Greg Bahnsen, and Many Infallible Proofs by Henry Morris. Also, getting a good education on America’s Christian heritage and our Constitution is a must. No American Christian should be ignorant on what is in our Constitution. We all need to be informed citizens and not let islamists, Communists, Fascists, Atheists, and others take you by surprise. The final step in this process is to pray. Many revivals had started because people prayed. While that doesn’t excuse the need to evangelize, prayer is the golden key to revival. It shows our reliance on God and not on our own strength and pride. These are some of the ways we as Christians can change the direction of the Church and of society.

At last, what are some ways to get familiar with America’s Christian heritage and our Constitution? Go to a search engine and you can almost certainly access an html copy of the U.S. Constitution. Learn it, articulate it, teach it to others, and that will drive the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State nuts. Buy a bunch of U.S. Constitutions and send one to everyone that you know. They are usually cheap and can fit in one’s pocket. Christians should be the ones spearheading this. We need to teach this to our children by any means which includes keeping your children out of public school. Children in the public schools receive a substandard education and get indoctrinated with the homosexual agenda, Marxism, Islam, and pseudoscience (aka. Evolution). A way to familiarize yourself with America’s history is to read primary sources. That’s right! Read the sources written by America’s founders. These people have written on a variety of topics that you can learn a lot about what they believed and thought. Their writings are the exact opposite of what the ACLU, AU, and those in our government believe and are trying to impose. There is a link of sources you can read in the reference section of this article. It is important that every Christian in the U.S. is familiar with our Christian heritage.

In closing, America is in desperate need of spiritual revival. It is through the works of Christians such as you and me to reach such people. There are people everywhere that need to hear this glorious Gospel. We have the Key of the Gospel, are going to unlock the door of eternal life to them?

Works cited
1. MacArthur, John. “Can God Bless America?”
References (One of the best tracts that are available.) (Has free articles on apologetics and other stuff) (A copy of the Constitution you can read online.) (Also has the Constitution and many of the writings of the founding fathers.)